StarKist® Brings Charlie® the Tuna to Life in Happy Aquarium

Horizon Media and WildTangent Media collaborate to deliver the first branded character in the game

Feb 28, 2012, 09:00 ET from StarKist Co.

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Charlie® the Tuna makes his debut as a free in-game item for Crowdstar's Happy Aquarium game on Facebook. When players engage with a 15-second video ad about StarKist's Shelf Stable line, they can unlock Charlie into their aquarium for free and care for him as their new pet fish.  Once consumers have unlocked Charlie, they will be able to add him to their fish tanks and have him interact with the other fish in their tank. This is the first time that Happy Aquarium has integrated a branded character into the game.

"Charlie the Tuna is one of the most beloved advertising icons of all time, and we wanted to provide our target consumers with the opportunity to interact with him directly," said Jennifer Albert, Director of Marketing at StarKist. "We understand that our target female consumer is an avid social gamer and our Happy Aquarium integration allows consumers to engage with one of their favorite icons while we educate them on the benefits of our StarKist Flavor Fresh Pouch."

"Branded virtual items are on the rise in social games because of their positive connection between players and brands," said Mark Donohue, SVP of Media Ad Sales at WildTangent Media.  "Games provide a captive audience in the lean forward position so the opt-in ad messages prior to gameplay are not interruptive, but rather a part of the overall experience.  Players enjoy being rewarded as it makes their gameplay more enjoyable."

In-game items are often purchased by consumers to enhance gameplay.  With WildTangent Media's BrandBoost program, advertisers such as StarKist can offer a desired branded item for free in exchange for engagement.  The result is a value exchange that benefits the advertiser and the game player.

"With 3 million monthly active users and an audience of over 70% women, Happy Aquarium is an ideal platform to reach female players who look to casual games for the relaxation it provides in their busy lifestyles," said Rob Kalman, Brand Group Director at Horizon Media.  "By offering users the opportunity to earn Charlie the Tuna's bubble blowing character for free, the brand is able to educate consumers about their Pouch products while having fun with consumers the same time."

The goal of StarKist's integration with Happy Aquarium is to educate consumers on their Shelf Stable line of StarKist Flavor Fresh Pouches. The integration is part of the brand's digital program for the Lenten season, which also includes a weekly sweepstakes on their Facebook page. The brand has made digital marketing one of the centerpieces of its new "Thanks Charlie" ™ campaign. StarKist has a robust online community with more than 160,000 Facebook Fans.

About Horizon Media
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest independent media services company in the world.  The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago and Amsterdam, Netherlands.  Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by MediaPost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek/Brandweek/Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world's ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011.

The company's mission is "To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere."  By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become the fastest-growing media agency in the industry, with estimated billings of $3.4 billion and approximately 675 employees.

The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit

About WildTangent
WildTangent ( operates a cross device games service that allows consumers around the world to access games through one convenient Games App. Fueled by our digital currency, WildCoins, and a proprietary ad platform, BrandBoost, the service delivers the most cost efficient way to play games.  Consumers can play premium games for free courtesy of brand advertisers, rent games for a fraction of the retail price with 100% of rental going toward the purchase price, or buy them outright.  The service also offers social games and free online games.  Players can purchase in-game items at discounted rates with WildCoins or receive them as gifts from advertisers. 

WildTangent Media is a digital media advertising platform that connects brands with a highly engaged audience of 175 million consumers across desktop, social, and mobile platforms. Powered by ad products that consistently perform above industry norms and a growing portfolio of 3rd-party game developers, WildTangent Media offers consumers the chance to invite brands into a digital experience they're really enjoying. And in return, they get something they want. Like virtual goods, free play, or premium content, all in the name of an advertiser's brand. It's a "value exchange" approach, where consumers get the rewards they want, instead of interruptions—and where brands make a lasting impression.

WildTangent Media's digital advertising solutions have been adopted by premium publishers like Activison, PopCap Games, Sony Online Entertainment, and DreamWorks, and are utilized by major global brands like Coca-Cola, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Kraft, Levi's, and others in a variety of brand verticals.

About StarKist
StarKist Co. is a leading producer, distributor and marketer of shelf-stable seafood products in the United States. A category leader in innovation, StarKist was the first brand to introduce the StarKist Flavor Fresh Pouch®; StarKist Tuna Creations®, a line of lightly marinated tuna; and, a dolphin-safe policy.  As America's favorite tuna, StarKist represents a 65-year tradition of quality, innovation and consumer trust and is well known for its charismatic brand icon, Charlie® the Tuna, who swam into the hearts of tuna fans in 1961 and is still a fan favorite today.  StarKist Co. is a subsidiary of the Dongwon Group.

SOURCE StarKist Co.