Talking Tom, one of Outfit7’s Talking Friends mobile phone animated avatars, is now available dressed as a player on six of the world’s most popular soccer teams. This is the app’s first extension into premium branding.
The branded content gains significance when looking at the numbers involved: the 14 Talking Friends have been downloaded more than 300 million times in 120 countries, with Tom accounting for a third of them.
Obviously, the relevant soccer teams have their own millions of fans. According to a 2010 study by Sport & Markt, FC Barcelona alone has 57.8 million European fans, a figure that doesn’t include fans who reside elsewhere and which is likely to have grown since then. The other five teams included in the revenue sharing deal are Real Madrid (31.3 million fans), Arsenal FC (20.3 million), AC Milan (18.4 million), Olympique de Marseille and SL Benfica, which collectively have won 130 National Championships and over 30 European Championships.
Each app will cost $3 or less, significantly less than the uniform replica jerseys that Sport & Markt says are soccer’s best-selling merchandising item.
“Today’s brand integration news is the first step towards expanding the significant global reach of the Talking Friends network further, through valuable partnerships with world-renowned brands,” said Paul Baldwin, chief marketing officer of Outfit7 Inc., a subsidiary of Out Fit 7 Ltd. “In the same way app networks are becoming the new studio system where beloved characters are born, in-app branding is the new form of strategic product placement. The possibilities are endless and we couldn’t be more excited.”
Outfit7 reports having over 90 million monthly active users of the Talking Friends apps. Launched in 2010, each features an animated 3D character that comes to life when poked, tickled, and played with on mobile touch-screen devices for the iOS and Android platforms. The interactive characters repeat everything a user says and customized videos of interactions with the characters can be shared via Facebook, YouTube or email. Outfit7 is headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus with subsidiaries in: Palo Alto, USA; London, England; Ljubljana, Slovenia; and Seoul, South Korea.