A new set of advertisements portrays the bad guys in one of the most popular mobile video games as using Microsoft's search engine to do their dirty work.
Bing has sponsored four animated video advertisements that join the Angry Birds series' existing story. The ad spots feature the pigs, the villains of the game, who make use of Bing on a smartphone to search out bird eggs and have off with them. Two of those 15-second ad spots are up this morning, with the other two to be released later on down the line.
This is not the first time Bing has been a part of the Angry Birds world, with developer Rovio having partnered with the search engine as part of the Valentine's Day update in its Angry Birds: Seasons game. When users would fail a level, the software would offer up a way for them to do a search on Bing for a walk-through or strategy of that level.
In a post on the Bing Blog, the company says this same functionality is coming to the original Angry Birds game as well, in a slightly expanded form:
"For a limited period, Angry Birds will also feature search integration with Bing providing over a hundred clues to speed you through the levels and help squash the porcine thieves. Featuring Bing Image Search, Bing Maps, and Bing Shopping, the videos show Angry Birds fans how they can advance in the game, featuring the lovable Angry Birds characters."
Up until now, Rovio has been highly protective of the Angry Birds franchise, which has turned out to be a breakout hit for the developer as a top download on iOS and Android, and likely Windows Phone 7 when it arrives there this spring. During a talk at last week's Games Developer Conference, Rovio's "mighty eagle" Peter Vesterbacka had said that the company had declined a number of offers from top film and TV studios, saying most had been downright "weird." Even so, recent partnerships to link its upcoming sequel with the Fox film "Rio," as well as this new ad campaign with Bing, are beginning to show that the company is OK with blurring the lines of fiction and reality with product placement.
As a gamer I can't help but feel a little put off by a game's plot being mixed in with, admittedly clever, advertising. Though in this case, the functionality can be incredibly useful if you're repeatedly getting stuck on the same level (as has proven to be the case for some in "Seasons"). It also goes down a lot smoother when remembering that at the end of the day it's all about flicking birds to their doom. Perhaps the next two ads will come from the birds' side, and have them doing a search for the nearest wing repair shop.