This Is The Best Ad Campaign In App History

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Advertising, Apps, Europe, GT, Social
Tags: , , , ,

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What better way for an anti-social app to get noticed
than by insulting its target audience? London-based
app design studio ustwo has just put up a pair of
billboards in the hipster heartland of Shoreditch, East
London, a stone’s throw from where its own studio is
based, which brazenly proclaim: You have no friends and No one likes you. The billboards, which will be teasing Shoreditch’s
hipsters for two weeks, are an experimental ad
campaign for one of ustwo’s recent apps: random
photo-sharing app Rando, which launched back in
March on iOS. Rando has now also been rolled out on
to Android and Windows Phone. Last month ustwo said the app had racked up a full five million of its
entirely social-less random photo shares after around
two months in the wild. So what’s with the anti-social insults? Rando’s
schtick is that it eschews all the usual social
paraphernalia developers typically embed in their
apps. There’s no Facebook sign-in, zero social
sharing options at all, no comments, no likes, no
favourites, no followers/followees. There’s also no way to tell who gets the photos you share/receive,
beyond a general location. It’s deliberately —
liberatingly — stripped of context. Turning to a fixed-location, paper-based advertising
medium may seem pretty old school but Silicon
Valley has long had a bit of a thing with billboards.
ustwo’s Matt Miller tells TechCrunch that’s certainly
one reason he was keen to experiment with papering
giant fliers atop one of Shoreditch’s busier junctions. “I’ve always been interested in billboards since flying
out to San Fran in 2012. I remember during a taxi
journey over there, being really impressed with the
billboards and thinking to myself how I’d love to see
our work pushed that way back home,” he says. The cost of the Rando billboard campaign is “around
the same amount it would cost us to develop a small
app”, according to Mills. But it’s the only paid
marketing ustwo intends to do for Rando — relying
instead on “the virality of the concept” to keep it
travelling, which, ironically enough, has led to plenty of organic chatter on social sites like Twitter and
Instagram. “The irony of Rando is that the majority of promotion
very much is driven by the virality of the concept.
We’ve had a range of people talking about it on
Twitter and Instagram — with a lot saying how much
they love the anti-social element of the app. Other
than the billboards we won’t be advertising though… we’d rather someone influential picks is up organically
and spreads the word,” he says. The point of the billboards is thus to provoke and
spark debate – ustwo is certainly not expecting them
to trigger a goldrush of downloads — but if it’s virality
you’re after, debate and controversy are your (anti-
social) friends. “We hope people will talk, and be
intrigued,” Mills adds. That said, he does also reckon the billboards help to
“validate Rando as a quality brand” — showing how,
despite everything going digital, paper advertising is
still clinging to cachet and a lasting sheen, perhaps
even more so as digital ads have cheapened and
proliferated. And that despite the impact of paper- based marketing being far more elusive vs
measurable clicks. “We wanted to raise awareness of Rando within the
tech and design scene in and around our studio in
East London. Also to make the point that in a world
so dominated by digital development, we still believe
that old school display advertising has the power that
no digital can match on a local level in terms of making a big statement,” he says. “We originally came up with the straplines a few
months back and mocked them up into billboards. We
had a lot of interest with people asking if they were
real or not – which made us decide to actually run
them. The ‘no one likes you’ and ‘you have no friends’
message was something we wanted to get out there. The straplines themselves are perfect for Rando and
so far removed from the majority of other advertising
messages you see out there by big brands, that we
had to go for it.” As for the anti-social stuff in general — that’s always
been and continues to be another experiment for
ustwo. “Consolidation of anything that people want to
engage in, without social validation, is something that
really fascinates us and hopefully Rando means we
learn a lot more about it,” he adds. So yeah, Shoreditch hipsters, for the next few week
read this and weep…

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