Here is an App we don’t need…Vuvuzela 2010!

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Sometimes, there can’t be too much of a bad thing — which would seem to explain the unfortunate creation of the Vuvuzela 2010 app for iPhone and iPad, which celebrates and perpetuates the blood-curdling wail of the ubiquitous horn used by South African soccer fans during World Cup matches.

Just like the actual horns, which came under marked criticism during this year’s matches, use of this app around others will likely be met with outrage, threats of violence, incremental loss of critical brain function and banishment from all match viewings, all of which are well-deserved.

Mickey’s Mobile Tidbits

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Disney mobile’s stats:
Disney receives 151M texts monthly,
73M consumers access Disney from their mob web
18M access Disney through one of Disney’s Apps.
They predict by next year 50% of their consumers will access Disney by mobile versus web.

PepsiCo taps mobile for loyalty program to reward beverage consumption

PepsiCo Foodservice has launched a mobile loyalty program in the form of an iPhone application that rewards consumers for visiting restaurants that serve Pepsi beverages.
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The Pepsi Loot iPhone application rewards consumers with Loot – free songs, including tracks provided exclusively for Pepsi Loot users from artists such as the Neon Trees, Tamar Kaprelian and Semi Precious Weapons.

“The strategic reason is we are always looking to connect with consumers and customers in ways that allow us to create better engaging experiences,” said Margery Schelling, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Foodservice, Purchase, NY.

“Providing an engaging experience for consumers is our strategy for everything we do,” she said. “If you look at how consumers live today, no one is without a mobile device.”

That was precisely why Pepsi chose to use mobile in this particular initiative.

Using location-based technology, Pepsi Loot features a map of nearby restaurants that serve Pepsi beverages, called Pop Spots, along with information such as address, cuisine type and introductions to the restaurant’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

In addition, restaurants can deliver a value offer directly through Pepsi Loot, such as a free Pepsi with purchase of an entrée.

“Pepsi Loot is a platform for Pepsi to provide added value for all of its restaurant customers,” Ms. Schelling said. “The app creates awareness and drives traffic to restaurants that serve Pepsi and serves as a vehicle to deliver customized offers.”

Once the consumer has arrived at a Pop Spot, the geolocation technology of the iPhone enables the consumer to “check in” to earn Loot.

After the first check-in the consumer earns a free digital song download at the Pepsi Loot Store, http://www.PepsiLootStore.com.

The Pepsi Loot Store includes more than 250,000 songs from a catalog of chart-topping artists.

In addition to providing free exclusive tracks, Pepsi Loot artists contributed behind-the-scenes personal videos, available at the Pepsi Loot YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/pepsiloot.

“Mobile is very important to Pepsi’s overall marketing strategy and it is becoming increasingly important for Pepsi Food Service,” Ms. Schelling said. “Mobile is the way that consumers are living their lives.”

MTV Mobile App

TV has rolled out an interactive MTV News application providing users access to this year’s MTV Movie awards, as well as up-to-date pop culture news.

The application is available for free on the iPhone and iPod touch.In addition, the iPad version will be available soon.

“MTV is creating addictive digital experiences for viewers by creating and curating content with MTV’s distinct voice to super serve our audience’s passion,” said Mike Scogin, vice president of wireless at MTV, New York.

“The strategy behind the MTV News app is about making our content as accessible as possible and reaching our audience on the platforms they are spending their time,” he said. “Mobile is where our audience is, and where our advertisers want to be. MTV’s hyper-connected audience is ages 12 – 35.”


Users can browse by several topics, including TV, music, movies, celebrity and gaming news articles, video and photo content.
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MTV fans can get behind-the-scenes mobile access to major events, beginning with the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, which airs on June 6.

Leading up to the show, the application updates exclusive content, starting with a live video stream of the red carpet construction. Users can also watch the live footage of the red carpet arrivals, backstage happenings and the after-party. In addition, users can watch video clips of the best moments “

The MTV News app will be promoted on MTV.com, the MTV Movie Awards homepage, social media outreach through Twitter and Facebook and through

Oprah Launches Oprah Mobile

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With the launch of Oprah Mobile, the daytime TV queen appears to be laying the groundwork for a bigger push into digital media in advance of the debut of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on cable TV next year.

The App, optimized for the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm Pre phones, offers a window into Oprah’s media empire — including clips and previews from “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” weekly polls, articles and photos from O, The Oprah Magazine and Oprah.com, and her Twitter updates.

Released by Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, the Oprah Mobile app sells for $1.99 in the App Store. A spokesperson for the studio said Monday the app may extend to OWN, though it’s not yet decided. But that seems like a pretty good bet, given the increased emphasis her forthcoming cable channel will place on digital distribution. Robert Tercek, president of digital media for OWN, said the project will build new media into programming from the ground up.
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He also noted that OWN would carry over the core of a digital audience from past efforts like periodic live Web broadcasts of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Oprah Mobile would seem to fit that strategy to help cultivate a wider digital audience via smartphone users, which are estimated to make up as much as a quarter of all U.S. mobile subscribers.

Down the road, it’s not hard to envision a comparable Oprah app for the iPad to showcase her various properties and extend live programming and interactive features, including m-commerce, to mobile devices. Tercek last month waxed enthusiastic about the Apple tablet, pointing out the advantage it has over any competing gadget because it comes with the ability to run existing iPhone apps (which would now include Oprah Mobile).

Tercek will have to make sure Oprah doesn’t get too out in front of her audience — which he acknowledged isn’t exactly the early-adopter crowd — in embracing new mobile and digital tools. No need to worry about impressing Apple fanboys.

Offering Oprah Mobile for free instead of charging might’ve been a good way to start, for instance, but the new cable network’s creators will have to test different approaches and learn as they roll out Oprah 2.0.

Little Love for the Mobile Web in App-Adoring World

The love affair between marketers and mobile apps is in full bloom, but the obsession with apps and the niche market they represent is coming at the expense of the mobile web, which is exponentially bigger and starving for brand dollars.
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Nearly 20% of U.S. mobile subscribers used a downloaded app in January, according to ComScore, but that audience is spread across myriad devices; no one app can reach that entire population unless it is reformatted a number of times. Yet marketers are throwing their relatively tiny mobile budgets behind iPhone apps rather than mobile websites that have the potential to get in front of more consumers.

Consider the largest app category, iPhone apps, at best only reaches 25% of smartphone users or about 11 million– a fast-growing segment that represented 42.7 million Americans in January, according to ComScore.

Compare that to nearly 200 million mobile subscribers that used a phone’s web browser on any device accessing the internet, from iPhones and BlackBerrys to Android phones. What’s more, phones will overtake PCs as the most common device to access the internet worldwide by 2013, according to a study from information-technology research company Gartner.

So why are mobile sites taking a backseat to iPhone apps? Blame the Apple aura.
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Better experience

“Developers are bullish on the mobile web,” said Kyle Outlaw, experience lead at Razorfish. “But it’s hard to convince clients.” The iPhone app won its preeminence with marketers the same way it did with consumers: by presenting a user experience never before seen in mobile.

After the iPhone came along, “It wasn’t about mobile anymore; it was about the iPhone,” he said.

The case isn’t helped by the fact that mobile websites look low-rent compared to apps. Apps also win on rich media and usability vs. mobile websites. Most m-dot sites are a “low-fi” version of their wired-web counterparts, though agency folks are looking forward to the expected updates that will result in better-looking, higher-functioning mobile sites.

Apps can also use other hardware features on a phone, like its camera or compass, while mobile sites can only really tell where a user is located. Plus, with slow-load speeds, categories popular in apps, such as gaming, are not feasible on the web. Because an app runs offline, users don’t have to worry about a slow or spotty network connection.

It remains to be seen how long the iPhone app addiction will last, but the mobile web or what I call “device-agnostic” since it works on any operating system will eventually break through when the iPhone buzz dies down and the consumer can get equally rich app experiences on non-Apple operating systems. Or, if the new access to mobile web takes off…starStar abbreviated dialing codes.

App development is not easily scalable. It’s expensive and time-intensive to get apps on different phones. Not only that, more and more smartphones are coming on market and iPhone’s slice of the pie will shrink as more feature-phone users sign up for their first smart device. That fragmentation of the market will coincide with advertisers amping up their mobile presence … and marketers will have to look beyond the app to get at growing audiences on a growing number of devices.

Right now we’re in the Age of the App, but as browsers become more sophisticated, mobile websites will be on the rise and users will barely be able to tell the difference between the app experience and the browser.

Survey On The Spot


Abbi Tatton from the CNN Situation Room reviewed the newly released TSA survey available through SURVEY ON THE SPOT, a new iPhone app.

In the wake of new security concerns at airports, can this free app provide useful and timely information to the TSA and the traveling public. The survey, which is available for smartphone and web users via browser ( http://www.surveyonthespot.com/go/tsa ) as well as on the iPhone enables travelers to complete the survey immediately upon passing through TSA security.

I worked on the creation of this app with Ken Kimmel and Geofrey Palmer from SOTS. It was also featured in USA Today last week.

Wikitude, One of the Top Ten Android Apps

What is it?
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Wikitude is a mobile travel guide for the Android platform based on location-based Wikipedia and Qype content. It is a handy application for planning a trip or to find out about landmarks in your surroundings; 350,000 world-wide points of interest may be searched by GPS or by address and displayed in a list view, map view or cam view.