In a move that borrows from the Angry Birds playbook, quite literally, Fight My Monster – the so-called ‘Moshi for boys’ – has appointed licensing heavy-weights Russell Binder and Dimensional Branding Group to represent the brand globally and, presumably, to begin exploring merchandising options.
Binder’s Striker Entertainment actually claims Angry Birds as a client, while DBG works with the likes of Sony, Miniclip and Temple Run — so this appears to be quite an ambitious appointment for the young company and points to the potential of Fight My Monster’s brand amongst its much coveted and hard to reach audience of 8-14 year old boys.
Interestingly, Fight My Monster’s brand ambitions don’t stop there. The San Francisco and London-based startup also recently announced a joint TV production deal with Oscar-nominated BrownBag Films, the animation studio behind the recent ‘Doc McStuffins’ series for Disney, to work on an undisclosed project.
So what exactly is going on here?
“If you look at where the company is heading, we’re building out a games platform for 8-12 boys which can generate revenue from both virtual and physical lines”, says Executive Chairman and Fight My Monster investor Dylan Collins, citing the example of Moshi Monsters and Angry Birds maker Rovio who are each generating $100M+ annually through a combination of online and off-line.
“Obviously, if it was that simple a lot of people would be doing it – success comes down to having the right combination of game, brand, technology and team”, he says. “Kids are much smarter than people give them credit for — they can smell something which isn’t genuine.”
To that end, Fight My Monster, which was founded just 18 months ago by CEO Dominic Williams, thinks it’s hit the sweet spot with its target audience of boys and who average 10 and a half years old, and spend around 40 mins per-session playing the online trading card game. In total, the company claims 1.4 million players across the U.K. and North America.
Furthermore, the under-13 segment is “one of the toughest in the world”, says Collins, since it is a demographic that is largely absent from social media or email and the “lack of social channels makes marketing extremely challenging”.
But it’s a challenge that investors haven’t shied away from, and neither has the competition.
In March this year, Fight My Monster closed a $2.1m round from Greycroft Partners, eVentures and several well-known angel investors including Jarl Mohn (Chairman of Riot Games), Chris Deering (former Playstation Europe), Jeff Lapin (Take Two), Josh Resnick (Playdemic) and Kevin Donahue (YouTube).
Meanwhile, its competitors include the titles Skylanders (Activision), Monkey Quest (Nickelodeon), and “anything on the Nintendo DS platform”.
So what’s the recipe required to reach this elusive online audience? It appears that there isn’t one.
“Success in this market requires that you to forget a lot of what has driven the most recent wave of gaming — it’s quite counter-intuitive”, warns Collins.
Counter-intuitive it may be. But merchandise and movies may well be part of the mix.