Yesterday’s news of a Green Day-themed version of the popular Angry Birds game may just be the start of a whole new round of Angry invasion of American popular culture, it seems. Finnish game studio Rovio Entertainment, the organization that loosed the birds and their pig nemeses onto the world at large, has made three important hires for it’s newly-opened Los Angeles office that suggest that, when it comes to Angry Birds domination, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter today, Rovio has brought Rachel Webber, Michele Tobin and Naz Cuevas on board to work in the Santa Monica office. Those names likely aren’t too familiar to you, but where each of those three have come from will be. For example, Webber was previously in charge of managing relationships at Tumblr before becoming the company’s Head of Business Development for North America, responsible, in part, for the construction of Rovio’s planned video animation division. Similarly, Cuevas – now Rovio’s Senior Director of Consumer Products and Retail Strategy, and the man responsible for keeping the 1000+ company who have licensed the rights to the Angry Birds brand for use in everything from clothing to candy and back again both happy and in line with the company’s view of what the characters should, and shouldn’t, be able to do – had a former life as Senior Manager at the licensing division of Freemantle Media, the company behind American Idol and America’s Got Talent.
Perhaps most impressively, Tobin had been responsible for the Entertainment division of Millennial Media, another unfamiliar name but an award-winning, Inc. 500 company responsible for mobile advertising with a client base that includes Coca-Cola, Proctor and Gamble and AOL, amongst many others; her new role will see her building both more partnerships with outside companies as well as what’s being described as “a direct sales pipeline with the biggest brands in the US.”
In joining Rovio, the three will work under Andrew Stalbow, Rovio’s General Manager of North America. In a statement announcing the hires today, Stalbow placed emphasis on the ambition to grow Rovio from a video game company to a force to be reckoned with in mainstream entertainment: “As an entertainment company spanning games, animations, consumer products, retail and media partnerships, it’s natural for us to expand our reach in North America out of Santa Monica. We’re thrilled to announce the hiring of Rachel, Michele and Naz as we work with our partners in the United States to execute our strategy of delivering incredible experiences for our fans,” he said.
Rovio has already made a great deal of headway into the exploitation of the Angry Birds brand; having these three join the company and spearhead its North American growth, it looks as if the company is planning on continuing to grow as fast as possible. Soon, you won’t be able to get away from the idea that all pigs are thieving monsters.
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