To App or Not To App

When trying to figure out if a mobile app makes sense for a product or brand, usefulness and utility are always key factors.  Considering the same for a short-lived (or small promotional window) product or one with wide-ranging IP, the factors for determining app value are even more complex.

Essentially, we’ve seen a lot of Apps to meet these needs that are either on-and-done or never even see the light of day due to the other concerns surrounding IP.  Disney and Verizon have been aggressive with their partnership on the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN app – where they are spending a lot on media just for the app.  In that case, there’s a franchise that it supports, so it has more shelf-life. But, it really is a movie promotional app with a short window for being able to play a game with some virtual pirates and such.  Verizon is putting a lot of money into it due to their exclusive agreement.  Who knows if we’ll ever find out how many downloads it has. We most certainly will never find out how much time is spent with it.

In Marc Ostrick and Josh Levine’s new web series, APP ATTACKS! , their premiere show delves into a promotional app that truly makes good use of the app to build on awareness and, hopefully, excitement.  That film is SUPER 8 and their app, Super 8.  It is an 8MM camera approximator.  They review a non-promotional app and this app supporting SUPER 8.  What’s so strong is that it has limited information on the film, but is pretty well featured to be used after the film is gone.  Another cool element is the incorporation of a mysterious video clip from the film that appears within te user’s first filmed piece.  It happens only on the first play, so it is not annoying.  Ultimately, the hope is that people will download this in the first few weeks leading up to and into release.  You get the brunt of the promotion but then get to use it for much longer.  If they are smart, they’ve planned for updating the message when the Blu-ray/DVD release comes.  It seems that they will be making it premium later, so time will tell…  From the review, it seemed like most people would be happy with the promotional version and not feel the need for the premium 8MM app.

The deciding factors vary – and the opportunities for becoming a go-to utility app are not always prevalent – but the days of single-title one-and-done use promotional apps are hopefully gone.

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