To coincide with a month-long iAd campaign for the Best Buy Buy Back program, creative shop Crispin Porter + Bogusky designed a companion app as well. The idea behind both the iAd and the app surround an experience both Best Buy and CP+B refer to as the Technology Time Machine. Unfortunately the execution feels rather forced.
The main function of the app is the cell phone skin section. This isn’t available on Android phones, so while it’s neat to see different versions of phone dial pads throughout the ages, it’s hard to conceive that users will be compelled to open the Buy Back app instead of the phone app when making a call.
The next area is the Buy Back calculator. It’s an interesting and fantastic concept that performs well in the iAd and the app, but doesn’t take advantage of any features of the phone. It could easily have been added to the main Best Buy app and provided more versatility for the user, but instead it resides here. This feature allows users to designate the type of product they’ve purchased and would like to trade back in at Best Buy. Finally, there’s the Upgrade Checker, which checks if the account the user has is eligible for a new phone upgrade. If the app only runs on iPhones, and iAd only runs on iOS 4.0 or higher, then the audience that would be targeted by this campaign would be mostly ineligible iPhone 4 users and the occasional iPhone 3GS user.
“We wanted to augment the experience to interact with the audience,” said Ken Slater, interactive assistant creative director at CP+B.
Paula Baldwin, a rep for Best Buy, said the app was a way to give the campaign longevity, a way of outlasting a temporal ad campaign.
“We’ve used the iAd platform before, but this was our first iAd with a leave-behind app,” said Baldwin. “We felt this was the perfect opportunity to educate users about the benefits of the Buy Back Program in a fun way while leaving them a delightful promotional and functional app that encourages sharing and engagement.”
This isn’t the first app or campaign made by CP+B for Best Buy. The Best Buy Move Mode app allowed users to translate the babbling minions in the kids movie Despicable Me in a section after the credits. This is a unique feature that could only happen through using an app and incorporating elements outside of the app as well. The app never updated to include other features for new movies, but the initial ideas took full advantage of the device and brought engaging features to the user. The Buy Back app does not.
With all of the features of the app being available in the ad or easily having been added to the main app or the mobile website, this is a prime example of app store clutter and perpetuation of the mindset that every company needs an app for every mobile execution.
Both CP+B and Best Buy declined to divulge app usage statistics.