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May 19, 2009


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As a recently new itouch user, I'm starting to notice all of the app-vertisements that are a part of all the different applications I've downloaded and I'll admit I can't help but notice the ads. Definitely an interesting topic to realize how businesses are capitalizing on this increase of smart phone application usage.


I had no idea this was going on. I have to admit I just use my phone to make and receive calls. I even forget to charge it...thank goodness my husband does it for me. If I have a free moment I usually want to close my eyes so for me I am not the target audience, but my son would love it...any kind of electronic game sparks his interest. I think the idea will catch on.


I love the golf app. What about a golf ap that was sponsored by a golf ball company, that gave tips for a course? It could know your handicap, drive distance etc, and then recommend play. Maybe it keeps ur score/ club et


First generation marketing phone applications will probably involve menu/ordering/payment systems for customer convenience. Payment by cell phone has been around for a few years (http://www.mobiledia.com/news/45380.html) but the new set of phones can add important features like branded menus, automatic ordering (i.e. repeat last purchase), and location based ordering. Think about having the phone order your Starbucks as you commute so that the morning Latte (or is it your third of the morning?) is ready when you walk in. Of course, the retailers will need to reeducate their customers to understand that they need not stand in line, and in fact are permitted to jump ahead in line if they use the automated systems. Eventually, as these phones become widely adopted, the store will be able to reallocate their personnel to preparing the product, or creating a positive consumer experience, or (in the worst case) reducing head count.

Kristin Andrews

McQ -- this is a very hot topic right now, so I'm glad to see more interest out in the blogosphere about using mobile apps for branding. I am really curious to see how this could prove useful to organizations, rather than corporations. Reflecting back on your wonderful Burger King example, I'd be curious to see how this could be applied for use in something like Army recruitment. Would an Army game boost recruitment rates? I'm anxious to see where this will all go. Keep it up!


I'm off on a tangent here,I know,but someone has to let Seniors in on the fun. Back way up ... Marketers must yank those "emergency call-in" cells out of Seniors'pockets and trade them in for Smart Phones. Make cells "Oxo-easy"to use, lively companions and fun communicators. Have the targeting marketers ready with fast-breaking news about local special deals for Seniors(Sorry, kids. It happens a lot), location of lifestyle enhancements, fitness programs, travel, all kinds of services. Local senior-friendly doctors, dentists.
Word games and board contests connecting Seniors, with finals held at cafes, book stores. This is just the beginning.

Denise M

Lisa M has a point about preferring quality applications. But advertisers shouldn't overlook the huge numbers of people who spend time playing (relatively) mindless games. Take, for example, the Tamagotchi craze 15 years ago. What if Iams Pet Food created a similar iPod app allowing someone to care for a digital kitten or puppy? They would have to feed it regularly and take the dog for a 'walk', etc. At first, they could feed it Iams kitten/puppy food, then would graduate to adult food as the animal grew. Not enough walking might mean a change to the low-fat version. People might enjoy having a purring, tail-wagging digital pet, and Iams would get lots of brand recognition. No new information, just a nice distraction.

Megan McQ


You're definitely right. As communicators we all know the best way to effectively reach our market is by providing quality content. I agree that I would probably not download Burger King's application, but it still created a 167% increase in brand awareness, regardless of its 'usability'.

I think that the 'worthwhile' advertisements to which you refer will be more prevalent as location-based software develops. That way you can obtain information more prevalent to you and your possible needs.

Great Comment!


Traditional TV advertisements already seem to be out the door with more people using TIVO- in which they can fast-forward through commercials! While advertising seems to latch on to the newest technology, you can't help but wonder for how long it will be effective and what new method will be employed next in this ever-changing industry.

As for being able to target customers when they are within a certain range... well that's border line creepy, but I have no doubt that I'd fall for it!

lisa m

Meg, you read my thoughts:

"But, we still must be authentic in our communication and provide pertinent content that adds value to our target market."

Maybe its because I don't have a smartphone, but I'm not so enthusiastic to play a simple game where the only point is to advertise Burger King. Being immersed in the advertising industry myself I understand the importance of it, but the increasingly technology-savvy world deserves more from their ads. Give me something worthwhile from your ad, even something as simple as new information, and I'll pay more attention to it.

Megan McQ

Tom H. I completely agree. Marketing professionals tend to forget that they are marketing to people. In many cases, they are people just like them. And yes, the tactics for marketing to people have changed. But, we still must be authentic in our communication and provide pertinent content that adds value to our target market.

Thank you for your post!

Mireille Mathiot

Let's guess what could happen if you are away from your home.
Example in an other country, let's say China. A place where you do'nt speak the language fluently and you want to go to a restaurant or a store but have no idea how to explain your taxi drive.
Getting those advertisement on your cell would help you to store those advirtising and just show the creen of your cell to the driver.
And Just like that: he understand and drive you to the place?
Great technology which is helping us a lot.
Go around and you will discover that.
By the way ..... I am European and leave in Northern China and happen to speak the language. But sometimes it feels good to have the support of my cell. And the Chinese use a lot a lot of these tools. Might cost close to their monthly salary sometimes but they realise the need of it.


... a big lightbulb just turned on! Vast constituency out there. Maybe call it "Cellebrate for Seniors". The app's are immense ... marketing to consumers with time and discretionary funds but specific needs and demands. This could fire up its own megatrend(or better, "Megantrend"!). Let ideas roll in here. I'll be back ...

Denise C

Location-based advertising has some real potential. I'd like to see an app that would let me know the wait times at all restaurants within a certain distance (and maybe a list of their specials?)


Hey there Megaphone.
Nice post. Fyi, Qualcomm just opened the largest app store around called Plaza Retail. it's got apps for every type of phone including (soon) Google's Android system. Last week I was playing golf and a guy put his i-phone flat on the putting green, and downloaded an app that read the line of his putt. No kidding! This cell phone thing is really catching on. I'm definitely gonna get one when the new ones come out--and the price gets more reasonable.
In the meantime I'll be the guy with the roll of quarters.
Take care.
The Garmeister


hey there McQ. Fabulous name. What's the Q for? My vote's for you. You're punny. Heh. Extremely insightful post. I am also consequently terrified. So, they may be able to know when we're within a few miles of their establishment and advertise to us? Oh no! It's sort of like that whole minority report thing where they scan the person's eyes. Except our bodies/personal identity is pretty much one with our cellphones so no scanner needed. This is the future. It is coming. I can't run. But I can try. For now I'm sticking to the wilderness and carrier pigeons. Good luck McQ!


very interesting. i'd like to see a southwest airlines app-vertisement 'game' where you have 30 seconds to seat all the passengers (according to their stated preferences) before the 'ding' sounds and you can win award points for free flights. i'd buy a smart phone just to play. thanks for this tech update. i look forward to this app-solutely exciting digital media future.

Tom Herrmann

Thought-provoking post. As a writer I always try to imagine myself as the reader. Adding your post to that logic, as marketers we have to put ourselves in the place of our audience and understand how those people want to be reached and what messages will move them. We're light years from my old manual typewriter, but the basic premise remains the same.


cellphones have come a long way baby... IF Moore's law holds true, ... we won't need these desk toppers much more, or will we.... or won't we?.... time will tell.


Interesting what you say about gaming app-vertisements. It's definitely a challenge to think of unexpected ways to engage audiences...and what better way to get someone to opt-in to your messages when they're being entertained! Burger King is a great example!!!

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