4 May, 2013

7 months ago (October 2012) I decided it was time to propose to my beautiful and  incredible girlfriend, Melissa.  

But......... How to do it?  I had absolutely no idea!!

I like to do things differently and I love surprising Mel when she least expects it.  

So, what would be different?  What would catch Mel off-guard?  What was ... 'us'?

It was 2am on an October night.... there was no immediate rush... I mean, we first got together late 2004 so we'd never rushed anything before!   

As I brainstormed a few ideas I remembered Mel once joking that "one day Angry Birds will have *something* to do with our wedding day".  She was completely joking! 

She wasn’t a huge fan of the game - mostly because I played it so often. 

And that was it........... What Mel jokes about I like to try make into reality

I wanted an Angry Birds Proposal.  

Now, let me tell you -

I never, EVER thought I’d actually pull this off.  

But............ what did I have to lose by trying?? 

And.... Why do I love Angry birds so much?  Angry Birds is far more than just a game to me.  I'm in the tech world, and I respect the business that Rovio has built.     

  • Brilliant execution of user experience - It. Just. Works. So. Well.
  • Gamification for three stars - why the hell do I care so much about getting 3 stars on each level?! 
  • Simplicity - I've seen 3 year olds and 90 year olds play the game with little to no instruction!
  • and.... playing the game is my 10-15 minutes of zone-out from my own business - time to ponder difficult decisions.

So........ Just after 2am on October 29, 2012, I emailed Rovio - just their standard support email address that I found on their website!!  I didn't know anyone at Rovio.  Had never been to Finland and really had zero expectations.

The subject line was, 

“A really strange request”

  • I explained why I liked Angry Birds / Rovio.
  • Told Rovio that Mel had put up with my obsession of little green pigs.
  • I asked for a proposal within an Angry Birds level.
  • I even brainstormed a few ideas as I typed.

I just thought I'd prefer to get rejected than wonder 'what if' ...... 

...2 months later I received an email from Rovio,

"Greetings from wintry Finland"

The email continued to ask if I was still interested in the proposal.... [YES!]  And it all went from there.  Phone calls to Finland at random times of the night, brainstorming ideas for the level, working out dates, places, videos etc.    

We agreed on the date.  It worked for me (my parents flew back from overseas the night before).  That date also fit in with the release of Angry Birds Friends.  I was aware it was a marketing stunt for Rovio...... but did I care?  As long as Mel and I were happy that is all that mattered!  Many have asked me if I was worried Mel would hate the publicity to follow?  Truthfully - No.  We’ve been together a long time.  We know each other very well!

Rovio sent me a Samsung Galaxy tablet from Finland with the game pre-installed (and let me keep the tablet!)

Now......... I’m probably not the most romantic person in the world..... so how was I going to pull off a really special (and strange) day without Mel getting curious or suspicious.

I told Mel we were going out to celebrate us moving into our new home.

I had asked my father to mention to Mel the night before that he’d bought me a few gadgets from China.

So Sunday came around....

We drove up to Cottage Point Inn - the same restaurant we went to for our first anniversary in 2005.  In 2005 we went there by air, so neither Mel or I had driven there before.  She had no idea where we were heading and we just discussed how exciting our new home was.  A proposal was the last thing on her mind.  

We arrived at Cottage Point - Mel realised where we were and was ridiculously excited.  Anyone looking for a romantic lunch or dinner - head there.... the food, setting, service are incredible.

I had been told by the video guy to sit facing the water............ but both seats were facing the water!!  Thankfully the waitress was on-top of the situation, knew where the hidden cameras were and kindly suggested that Mel sit in the seat with the best view of the water!  Mel oblivious as to what was happening didn’t see this as being strange. 

Now......... thankfully I take my laptop bag everywhere.  Totally normal for me.  I’d prefer my car to be stolen than my computer! Only this time, there was no computer in the bag - just a ring, tablet and few other gadgets.

We sat down for a romantic lunch.  It really was beautiful.  Reminiscing about being in the same place 7 years ago.

After lunch I went to the bathroom, did a short video piece for Rovio and headed back out to propose ...... and for the first time I was getting nervous!  The wifi wasn’t fantastic, there was no cell reception down in Cottage Point (it’s in a super remote location)... so I was even more nervous that the game wouldn't work!

I told Mel I wanted to show her a few gadgets my father had ‘bought me overseas’ (don’t believe Mel’s comments to the HuffPost haha...... I did need a good excuse to pull out random technology over a romantic lunch!) 

I pulled out an iPhone tripod..... and pressed record.... obviously!

I then pulled out a Galaxy tablet.  I knew Mel would have no interest.... but still humour me and play along and try out the Angry Birds level.

She then got to level 3........... you’ve seen the video....... the rest is history!!!

Thank you to Jessi and Taku at Rovio - you two have been absolutely amazing.