iPhone app-a-palooza

If I didn’t love my iPhone so much, I would probably find all this brew-ha-ha around the unprecedented success of the iTunes App Store a tad annoying.

But I do love my iPhone.

And I’m a big fan of the apps we’ve created here at Viximo, particularly TrueFlirt.

And you can’t disagree with the numbers:

  • 17 million iPhones sold
  • 500 million apps downloaded (SINCE JULY!)
  • $1 Million/day in iPhone app sales
  • 93% of iPhone users have used the App Store
  • 3/4 have 5 or more apps on their device

To quote Jim Goldman of CNBC:

“The potential of this store seems enormous, and its success seems to be gaining momentum far more quickly than even the most optimistic analysts out there projected.”

As a marketer, I think these numbers are pretty damn compelling. As a Genius, I think there’s a massive opportunity for brands to reach a highly desirable market segment (think young, rich, and tech-savvy!)—and keep them engaged on a device that is personal, novel, ubiquitous, and downright sexy.

And lest you think that branded iPhone apps are merely a flashy new “branding gimmick,” consider that said gimmick is being broadcast on a device where shopping and sharing are literally a click away.

Want to hear more? Check this out:

Those of you smart enough to want a closer look at this opportunity, check out VixML.com. Believe it or not, we’re actually GIVING AWAY access to the iPhone content authoring tool that TechCrunch calls “revolutionary”.

Of course, if you’d rather have us build you an app, we can do that, too. Either way, I suggest you get off your keister and start thinking about how NOT to let this goldmine pass you by.

A double dose of Genius

While the term “Web 2.0” has become rather cliche, it’s ugly step-children, Marketing 2.0, PR 2.0, Branding 2.0, Advertising 2.0, and (Dear God) Business 2.0 are just beginning to see their days in the sun.

Unfortunately, there’s a gigantic gap between coining a term and embodying it—and thus we hear a lot of talk and see very few results on any of the above fronts (though the Genius does her best to chronicle those rare gems that do).

Today’s Bonafide Genius Awards go—for better or worse—to two shining examples in the “talk” category. (It seems my search for examples of “results” this week has been fruitless.) Clever, pointed, entertaining, and spot-on in their articulation of the industry cross-roads that smart marketing pros are responding to, they’re shining examples of how dull, cliche terms get a new shine when someone puts a little Genius into their message.

Congrats to Openhere for The Break Up and Paul Isakson of space150 for What’s Next in Marketing & Advertising.

Advertising 2.0 Genius (a.k.a. “The Break-Up”)

Marketing 2.0 Strategy (a.k.a. “What’s Next in Marketing & Advertising”)

P.S. A good number of you (the smarter ones, that is) have already seen these, but for the rest of you… watch and learn.

Conscious consumerism + good creative = RIGHT ON!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed at least some of the buzz about corporate social responsibility and the growing trend toward buying from companies that reflect an individual’s values. Just the other day, BBMG published a report that states nearly nine in ten Americans believe the “conscious consumer” label applies to them.

Side note: The Genius disagrees. You have to have a brain to be conscious. Most of you lemmings don’t have one. Or at least you don’t USE it much.

So I felt particularly giddy this morning when I cast my eyes on the latest ad campaign for CREDO Mobile, a socially-responsible outfit that lives under the Working Assets umbrella and donates 1% of “your charges” (whatever that means) to progressive nonprofit groups.

The cleverly named “Say Much More” campaign launched last week in two markets, Seattle and San Francisco, and combines a nice mix of print, outdoor and online ads, running on Ideal Bite, Huffington Post, Evite.com and [hey, let’s see if we can piss off a few conservatives! why not?!] Weather.com. The ads, which look like a text-message-gone-wrong, juxtapose common mobile-friendly quips with provocative political/social statements, inviting the reader to [what else?] “say much more.”

The Genius approves! Yes, folks, for a change, Madison Ave has produced something compelling, emotive, personal, meaningful, and simple—all wrapped into one neat little package. See it and weep!

Incidentally, the creative for this campaign was done by SS+K, who get double points for their cleverosity (Geniuses can make up words whenever they wish! So, zip it!) because of this: a guerrilla marketing effort that marries the use of their product with an entertaining spin on some controversial/sensitive social issues.

Here’s the 411:

As part of the campaign, Credo is producing political street theater in select cities using projected cartoon images on the sides of buildings drawn by political satirist Tom Tomorrow. Images of people such as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are shown next to blank dialogue boxes. Passersby can use their mobile phones to text in what they think the characters should say and then the words appear as part of the images.

“The concept of [the projection] was about how the Credo phone is not an everyday tool but a tool for change. In launch areas we wanted to target social media, beyond the everyday voice,” said Alice Ann Wilson, design director, SS+K. “This is voice that contributes to larger issues. The text projection creates a sense of community where everyone can use their phone to actively engage in the brand.”

Love it!!! I may be an acrid-tongued genius, but I’m also a sucker for really good creative. Particularly when it’s inspiring, clever, and… uh… reflects my personal values. If that makes me a “conscious consumer,” so be it. Consciousness is one [and perhaps the only] trend this genius is willing to yield to.

Targeted Online Ads: Brilliant or creepy?

With Facebook, MySpace, and Google energetically elbowing each other out of the way in their bid for World Domination, I can’t help but wonder what’s more scary: the fact that Rupert Murdoch might buy one (or all) of them and effectively own the United States? Or the fact that they’re amassing a frighteningly large amount of data on us, based on our behavior online?

When I first read about things like “portable personalization” and “behavioral targeting,” I thought… cool. With all the technology we have at our fingertips these days, there is really no excuse for irrelevant advertising and non-sequetor junk mail. Like this ad from the good folks at “MegaDi*ck,” which landed in my Spam folder earlier this week:

“The latest investigations have discovered, that males with bigger penises are more successful!” 

If I had a penis, perhaps I would care.

But then, I read this little bit of braggadocio from the CEO of NebuAd, which raised >$30 million in venture funds recently:

“We see all of the pages you go to and all of the searches you do,” CEO Bob Dykes said. When combined, that information provides marketers with a “much greater level of insight into what you’re doing,” he said.

Ok, that’s just creepy.

When asked to address the privacy concerns voiced by watch-dog organizations like The World Privacy Forum and the Center for Digital Democracy (who argue that companies like NebuAd should not create profiles on any user without first obtaining opt-in consent—period), Dykes responded by [what else?] downplaying the privacy concerns and emphasizing that the company doesn’t store records of search queries:

“We don’t want the government on our door saying, ‘Tell us all people who do a search on guns,'” he said.

Well, gee, I feel so much better!

Advocates of behavioral targeting are pushing the “opt-in” angle, suggesting that the benefits outweigh the risks: less Spam, fewer annoying, intrusive banner ads and pre-rolls that bear no resemblance to your personal interests or needs. The end result would be a much more enjoyable online experience, where you receive more of the stuff you do care about and less of the stuff you don’t.

But my concern is that most web-users don’t get the whole “opt in” thing to begin with—let alone how the term applies to “behavioral targeting”. My parents, for example, are still trying to figure out where the “forward” button is… and they spawned a GENIUS, for chrissakes!

As a passionate advocate of social media and the democratization of the World Wide Web, I think I’m leaning toward the opt-in only side of the argument. Certainly, there are plenty of tools out there already (and more popping up everyday) that help me find information that’s relevant to my tastes and interests—without having it shoved down my throat by advertisers. Or worse yet, used to put me on some government watch-list.

The final nail in the coffin for me will be when Google-DoubleClick joins forces with Big Pharma. Or Big Tobacco. Or Big Oil. (Or perhaps all three at once with a nice, firm handshake in the Oval Office!…)

Until then, I’m going to hope that my last Google search for “tax evasion” combined with a visit to DishonestAccountants.com doesn’t land me in hot water with my buddies at the IRS.

Wish me luck.