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New ventures for Angry Birds and Marimekko

By David J. Cord, September 2013

Photo: Emilia Kangasluoma
Marimekko, Converse, Angry Birds, Rovio, Star Wars, Finnish, Finland, innovation, fashion, co-branding, gaming, app, unikko, poppy, designA match made in Heaven, or a match made in Finland? Iconic fashion house Marimekko collaborates with Converse for a new line of shoes.

Finnish brands like Angry Birds and Marimekko join international partners for co-branding efforts.

Niina Kokko is one of those people who can quote Star Wars from memory. She can list filming locations and name who was in Chewbacca’s suit. To put it mildly, she is a fan. Her love of Star Wars sometimes leads her in strange directions, like to the game Angry Birds.

“I tried Angry Birds once online, but when the Star Wars game came out I got the app and loved it,” she says. “Anything Star Wars draws me in.”

Angry Birds Star Wars II

If Kokko is any example, Finland’s Rovio Entertainment’s idea to co-brand their Angry Birds game with Star Wars worked admirably. After racking up 100 million downloads with the original 2012 game the partnership was renewed with a sequel in September 2013.

Photo: Courtesy of RovioMarimekko, Converse, Angry Birds, Rovio, Star Wars, Finnish, Finland, innovation, fashion, co-branding, gaming, app, unikko, poppy, design
Rovio’s new Angry Birds Star Wars II game brings back popular characters – and lets players finally join the “pork side.”

If Kokko is any example, Finland’s Rovio Entertainment’s idea to co-brand their Angry Birds game with Star Wars worked admirably. After racking up 100 million downloads with the original 2012 game the partnership was renewed with a sequel in September 2013.

“In this case, the co-branding seems like a perfect match,” says assistant professor of marketing Christian Kowalkowski of the Hanken School of Economics. “The app is much appreciated among Angry Birds fans and it also attracts the attention of consumers of all ages who are Star Wars fans.”

While the first game followed the three original Star Wars movies, the sequel includes characters from the more recent three. For the first time in history, Rovio even allows players to “join the pork side” and play as one of the villainous pigs instead of the good-guy birds.

This is not the first time Rovio has teamed up with other companies to create Angry Birds merchandise. In fact, they are masters at it.

“Rovio pursues brand extension aggressively,” Kowalkowski continues. “You can find anything from Angry Bird’s children’s clothes and toys to wrapping paper and coffee. Such co-branding initiatives also lead to increased sales of such co-branded goods.”

Marimekko and Converse

Angry Birds is not the only Finnish brand that has paired up with international partners in co-branding efforts. Linda Christofakis, a hip, stylish, 22 year-old woman, casts a critical eye on another product: Converse shoes decorated by the iconic Finnish fashion house Marimekko for their fall 2013 line.

“I have always thought of Marimekko as a brand for older people but to my surprise the designs for the Converse shoes do not look like that at all,” she says. “They are very young and fresh and fit the shoes perfectly.”

Photo: Courtesy of MarimekkoMarimekko, Converse, Angry Birds, Rovio, Star Wars, Finnish, Finland, innovation, fashion, co-branding, gaming, app, unikko, poppy, design
The Iconic Unikko design of Marimekko gaining youth appeal with its converse mash up.

Some, in fact, might be too young for her. She thinks the shoes designed with the famous Marimekko poppies, Unikko, are too bright for her style.

“I would imagine my younger sister and her friends would wear those,” Christofakis muses.

At first glance, the Marimekko and Converse partnership might seem a bit unlikely. The Converse brand is indelibly connected with youth culture, while Marimekko is normally seen as a mature brand. Yet this can also be beneficial, as fans of each brand are introduced to the other.

“It is valuable to find a co-branding partner who will not alienate existing customers, but has a brand so positive that it will both attract new customers and make many of the existing ones more excited,” Kowalkowski explains.

Christofakis, with her black clothes and colourful tattoos covering her chest and shoulders, seems to be falling into this “new customer” category for Marimekko. She becomes engaged by a pair of Converse Hi-Tops with the Piekana (buzzard) design, a pattern of staggered, frayed black and white stripes.

“These are very appealing and in style right now,” Christofakis says. “I see myself wearing these black and white ones.”

See also on thisisFINLAND

Finnish games fly higher and higher
Two happy designers and many Angry Birds
Angry Birds lead to addiction!
All-time top 12 Finnish design products
Welcome to Finland, the design nation

Links

Angry Birds Star Wars II

Marimekko Converse
 

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