The flagship, limited edition Mighty Eagle ring is priced at an ambitious $290, placing it squarely in a high-end niche most mobile app tie-in products do not target. Rovio has emphasized that Angry Birds games have unusually broad demographic appeal -- this high-end jewelry line may be one test of how powerful the brand appeal is among high-income, older professionals. A few years ago, Hello Kitty jewelry items costing more than $200 had trouble connecting with US consumers, but turned out to be a substantial hit in Japan. It could be argued that this creepy, mute cat has narrower demographic appeal than the aggressive avians. "Rovio guards the image of the Mighty Eagle character jealously", Mr. Saarikorpi points out. "Just as in the games, only a portion of the powerful bird is depicted on the ring -- his shape is never shown in full." After the limited edition Mighty Eagle ring, Primesmith is already preparing to roll out cheaper product lines better suited for mass market, including pendant and bracelet charms priced around $50. The range reflects Saarikorpi's intention of creating strong 3D shapes for the characters formerly locked to 2D environments. The upcoming jewelry items depicting pigs will add touches of drama and comedy to the jewelry ensemble that will grow to feature earrings, bracelets charms, bangles and brooches.
"For a cartoon jewelry franchise, mass market-priced earrings and pendants are likely to be the big product lines. Creation of expensive luxury items based on cartoon characters has proved to be challenging", points out Rachelle Epstein, Creative Director for William Goldberg Corp, an international diamond house. Disney is doing some interesting, moderately priced accessory development with its characters right now.Primesmith has big ambitions, including signing up other major digital franchises as jewelry clients. The company employs sophisticated 3D printing technology to create precision molds rapidly and cheaply -- and one goal is to let consumers to participate in the design process. Opening up the jewelry design process to enable people to customize or even create their own jewelry items is something that might appeal particularly to fans of digital franchises, already interacting with characters on tablets and smartphones. Part of the process will be giving consumers access to 3D design tools for jewelry creation. Advances in 3D printing technology are lowering the expense and speeding up the creation of small, customized product runs. We are closer to an era where even mid-sized mobile app franchises and reality TV celebrities could design and produce accessory lines a lot more rapidly and affordably than a few years ago. The challenge of how to generate effective consumer participation in the design process could be a relevant part of expansion of old merchandising models. The year 2012 may well be a period of rapid advances in franchising and marketing strategies for mobile app vendors.