AppWatch: A Look at What Publishers are Launching in the Mobile Space
Move Over Rubik's Cube ... There's a New, Addicting Puzzle in Town
App: Esquire's Hardest Puzzle Ever
Produced by: Esquire magazine (Hearst)
Price: First level and sponsor level are free; next four levels cost $4.99 (total) to access
App Details & Features:
With the popularity of gaming and gaming apps, Esquire's foray into a branded "game"—or puzzle, if you will—is nothing shy of brilliant. "The Hardest Puzzle Ever," as it's called, is reminiscent of a Rubik's Cube-style puzzle, where you move squares around to try to complete the image on each side of the cube. The app ties into the Esquire brand with some of the images being of Esquire covers. (The first level, which is free to play, currently includes the Esquire cover featuring former President Bill Clinton.)
The app captures customer data through a "create an account" process (which asks for country of residence, date of birth, name and e-mail). And it creates a revenue stream: The sponsor (Lincoln) is given an entire level (the second level) of the game—which also is free—that ties into Lincoln's Smart Luxury campaign. After the first two free levels, users have to pay for the next four levels. But, perhaps most important of all, it's fun—a bit frustrating, like the old Rubik's Cube, which Publishing Executive's speculation is that it was built to be sturdy enough to withstand being slammed down on a table in disgust—and it's addicting.
The app takes advantage of the app environment and what's popular with users, while still promoting the Esquire brand and capturing information.
Color My House Beautiful ... or Sensitive
App: House Beautiful's 500+ Favorite Paint Colors App
Produced by: House Beautiful (Hearst)
Price: $4.99 (and sponsored by Blanco)
App Details & Features:
Well, Hearst seems to be on an app roll (sounds tasty). It recently launched House Beautiful's 500+ Favorite Paint Colors App for iPad, which is available on the App Store and through iTunes.
The app's features offer guidance that may be valuable enough to entice the consumer seeking help with paint choices to pay $4.99 for it. One example is its Color River—where users can browse 669 colors, and sort them by color groups (e.g., blues), room spaces (e.g., kitchen, bath) and moods (e.g., cozy, energizing). When you click on a color, you see designers' comments on the colors, plus you have an option to see "what goes with this" color. And the "Editors' Picks" is a curated collection of House Beautiful editors' favorite colors.
Another interesting (some may say odd, but not Publishing Executive) feature is a Color Personality Tool. Based on numerologists' theories of a relationship between numbers, colors and the alphabet, the tool matches colors to users by the letters in their names. Users type in their names "and their color personality is revealed," states the press release announcing the app's launch. "... Four paint color recommendations that match the user's personality are provided."
(Publishing Executive couldn't help but test its name out in the Color Personality Tool, and was matched up with the color indigo, with a personality summary of: "A brilliant old soul who is intuitive, sensitive, impulsive, curious and ambitious, with a great lust for life." With such an accurate description of Publishing Executive's personality, the tool sure seems to work.)
Users also can search for paints by brand, such as Ralph Lauren or Glidden.
With the "Add to My Paint Box" option, users can store colors and paint names, and with a social media integration, they can share things with friends on Facebook, Twitter and by e-mail.
And since mobile users often have been shown to be at a "ready to buy" stage in their purchase-decision process, why not save them a trip back and forth to the store with paint swatches? (Publishing Executive hates having to take swatches home, and then go back for the paint.)
The app content was conceived by House Beautiful staff and designed by digital marketing agency iCrossing, which Hearst acquired last year.
The sponsor, stainless-steel sink maker Blanco, benefits from in-app content that pairs different color countertops with color-coordinated Blanco sinks.
My Boat's Better Than Yours
App: New Sailboat Review
Produced by: Sail Magazine (Source Interlink)
Price: $2.99 (and sponsored by Vetus-Maxwell)
App Details & Features:
In the market for a new sailboat? Or just want to prove to the arrogant guy in the daysailer next to you that your boat's better than his? Well, for $2.99 (at iTunes), boat enthusiasts or buyers can access the New Sailboat Review app for the iPad, and browse 43 boat reviews—based on Sail Magazine's editorial experts' testing—of every production sailboat new to the market this year.
The app's interactive media includes more than 300 images, photo galleries, editorial video, boat drawings with zoom capabilities, special tools for boat comparisons and featured advertisers.
Especially handy—if you find out through the app that the arrogant guy's boat really is better than yours, or if you're simply a "ready-to-buy" mobile boat shopper—is the built-in dealer search.
Users can customize and compare their "favorite" boats, scroll through full-screen images, view editors' video reviews, and find comprehensive analysis of Sail's "2011 Best Boats" winners.
The New Sailboat Review iPad app, which is sponsored by marine products and services manufacturer Vetus-Maxwell, was designed by Sail and developed by Mediaworks, a division of Source Interlink Media. PE