Will There Be More Plush Toys? Rovio’s Former Branding Exec Lands at Big Fish Games.

Big Fish Games, a casual-game maker that has been flying under the radar, has hired former Rovio executive Wibe Wagemans to head up mobile.

During his tenure at Rovio as SVP of global brand advertising, Wagemans oversaw the rise of Angry Birds from a phenomenally popular mobile game into a merchandiser’s dream come true. Consumers clamored to purchase plush toys, key chains and backpacks based on the characters in the games.

In his role as VP and GM of mobile, Wagemans, who lives in Seattle, will be working a little closer to home: Big Fish Games is also based in Seattle; Rovio was based in Finland.

AllThingsD caught up with Wagemans to hear about his new job at Big Fish, where he will focus on helping to build a stronger brand, especially for the company’s rapidly growing mobile business. Historically, many of the company’s games were sold through a monthly subscription online, but the audience has been shifting toward downloading the games on the iPhone and iPad.

To date, Big Fish has launched 231 games on the iPhone and iPad, and has achieved 1.5 billion downloads across all platforms, including mobile and PC, since the company’s start in 2002. Half a billion of those downloads have occurred in the past year and a half alone, Wagemans said.

Some of the games include first- and third-party titles, such as Mystery Case Files, Awakening, Dark Tales, Doors of the Mind and Haunted Manor.

The company, which is a potential IPO candidate this year, previously reported that it generated $140 million in sales in 2010.

Here’s a video with Wagemans, who explains why he left Rovio to join Big Fish, and talks about the opportunity for more plush toys at the company, including its mascot, Felix:

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus