When I got home from my long holiday weekend I noticed a huge promotion on the cover of the Best Buy Sunday circular for its new "Movie Mode" app (see below). The app was featured with an offer to buy the new Sprint Evo, but it works on other Android devices as well as iPhones and certain BlackBerry models.
Best Buy is giving Movie Mode a lot of other promotion (including a TV spot) in advance of Friday's opening of "Despicable Me," the new 3D animated movie featuring Steve Carell which the app is initially tied to. The idea is that moviegoers turn on the app at the beginning of the show and it will translate what the "Minion" characters are saying while the end credits are running, as well as offering up exclusive new content.
Since the movie hasn't opened yet I obviously haven't seen the app in action. But I do like the concept and believe if offers a preview of how important video-capable smartphones are going to become as part of the marketing mix for movies and TV shows.
Two new smartphones - the Evo and Motorola's Droid X (Verizon) will help fuel this trend; they come with huge 4.3 inch high-res screens which are tailor-made for video viewing (the Evo even has a little kickstand on the back to make viewing easier). The iPhone 4's 3.5 inch "Retina Display" screen is no slouch either for video viewing and due to its sheer proliferation will be an important driver of this opportunity as well.
It's easy to envision all kinds of clever promotions depending on the movie or TV show. What comes to mind for me are additional behind-the-scenes content available only to ticket buyers, sneak previews for advance online ticket buyers, "Groupon meets Foursquare" location-based video ads/coupons depending on which theater you attended and "take the trailers with you" promotional downloads, among others.
The point is that with these robust video-capable smartphones hitting the market, video-oriented promotions become more viable and more appealing. I expect we'll see a lot more of the Movie Mode type apps going forward.
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