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'Angry Birds' to Be Featured in Super Bowl Commercial

You know you've hit the big time when you have enough money to advertise in the Super Bowl. Still, we didn't expect to see the “Angry Birds” app jump from our smartphones to our TVs.

The most popular and widely known app game on multiple platforms (even PCs and Macs now), will be featured in a Super Bowl commercial to promote the upcoming animated film “Rio.” “Angry Birds” developer Rovio will team up with 20th Century Fox, maker of the film, on the commercial as well as a promotional version of the “Angry Birds” game that brings together characters of the animated film with the furious fowl. 

“Angry Birds Rio,” as it will be called, will launch in March 2011.

The Super Bowl commercial will include an added bonus for “Angry Birds” fans. The Super Bowl ad will contain a code that unlocks a brand-new level in the game for free. When players complete the secret level, they will be able to enter a contest to attend the “Rio” premiere in Rio de Janeiro on March 22.

The code will take some detective work to find, though. Fox told AdAge that viewers will have to pause the commercial and watch it frame-by-frame to find the code. Apparently this marketing tactic will be used in several other Super Bowl commercials, despite the fact that it caters only to people with a DVR (though there will undoubtedly be a YouTube version available after the ad airs).

This news is particularly notable because it showcases one of the first and most prominent examples of how smartphones are becoming mainstream. A large segment of the population doesn't have an Android phone or iPhone, and “Angry Birds” has barely been around for a year, and yet this game has seen such a meteoric rise in popularity that it has entered public consciousness. This is undoubtedly the first of many "blockbuster" apps to gain the same kind of notoriety as TV personalities, movie characters and (in recent decades) video games.