The New Siren's Song - Branded iPhone Apps

While giving a presentation to a few colleagues on digital today, I talked a lot about how the App Store from Apple is changing the game for mobile devices. As a user, I can go on everyday and download thousands of applications (for free or a nominal sum) that enhance my mobile experience about 1000%.

I love the App store and go to it daily. I'm addicted to testing out new apps (especially GPS ones) and enjoy seeing how random developers are using this device to change the world of mobile.

During the presentation, a friend asked me about brands and iPhone applications. Is it worth creating? Should all brands run to this new medium and start testing stuff out?

No. Definitely not.

In Canada, iPhone penetration might be around 200-400K (based on Rogers quarterly wireless business reports). Although that number is going to increase rapidly, it's still an early adopter crowd. Brands like Swiffer might want to stay away. But tech related products might want to jump in (cell phone manufacturers can you hear me?)

Audi, always a brand trying to innovate in terms of advertising, made the jump quickly - launching the first car manufacturing gaming app that allowed you to test out the new Audi 2009 A4. Decent game and because it was a category first, it generated a lot of buzz. Nice idea, in any case.

Cue the followers.

MINI has done some great work in the past but their new iPhone application (shown below) misses the mark. Not only does the game look boring as hell, I really have no idea how it ties back to the 'coolness' of the brand. Why not do something different? Drive through the streets of London or go places (that are super small) that no other car could get into?

Audi 1. Mini 0.

Just remember - most people don't want to engage with your brand. They like free, cool stuff and they love their iPhone but don't just make something to be there - make something with a purpose that adds value to the user. Sounds basic, doesn't it?

Thx to Pantyboy22 for the Mini link.