Angry Birds to Get ‘Annoying’ Friend

Orange Web series to build brand

Angry Birds, the cute game turned burgeoning brand, is proving that there is money to be made in the real world for inexplicable virtual sensations. Creators of the hit Web series "The Annoying Orange" have been paying attention.

The Annoying Orange series follows an orange (as in the fruit) with a love of heckling as it lambasts other traditionally inanimate objects, such as other fruits, juice boxes, dough, and butter. The series has enjoyed more than 650 million views on YouTube and creators are hoping to turn viral success into a more lasting product-licensing business.

The Collective, the management company that represents Annoying Orange creator Dane Boedigheimer, is slapping the obnoxious citrus fruit on novelty items, hats, and shirts, expected to be available for purchase by the end of the year. But efforts to brand the orange don’t stop at knickknacks. The company is also shooting a TV pilot, drawing on the obscure and successful SpongeBob SquarePants empire for inspiration.

Angry Birds’ recent foray into the merchandise and TV videogame world will be an experiment in the staying power of brands built on ubiquitous Internet presence, and the Annoying Orange team will likely be just one of many rooting for its success. There may be the inclination to shrug off the ability of such oddities to gain a real foothold in the world of merchandising, but a little white cat with a pink bow that debuted on a coin purse in Japan in the 1970s might offer encouragement.