Granted, clocks aren't exactly the most revolutionary idea for the desktop - every Windows and Apple operating system comes equipped with one that is more than adequate - but the company believes that branded and customized versions of the PromoClock application can do wonders for online marketing and branding efforts.
"It certainly beats putting out a banner ad," quips Yakova Kupinsky, PromoClock.com's marketing manager. "This is your own promotional product, your own branding tool. It accomplishes the same goals as a traditional promotional product, but it's geared towards generating web traffic and other online marketing goals."
PromoClock is similar to desktop applications such as WeatherBug, Weather.com and AccuWeather, minus the constant retrieval of data from the Internet. It is resident on the computer user's hard drive, with all graphics, sounds and promotional content stored within. "Everything is pre-loaded," Kupinsky stresses. "There is no 'spyware' component to PromoClock."
Here's how it works: clients contract with PromoClock to create a customized version of the application, which can include anything from the basic animated desktop alarm clock to a countdown clock, a desktop coupon dispenser for on- and offline sales, and a search component. "There's quite a lot we can do with even a $5,000 budget," Kupinsky says. Once the application is created, PromoClock creates a CD-ROM complete with pop-up ads and other promotional material, which is then handed back to the client for distribution and installation onto individual computers.
The model seems to have two major flaws. Most importantly, the clock applications cannot be updated, meaning that companies must have their marketing plans mapped out well in advance to enjoy the full benefit of the PromoClock technology. Similarly, suppliers of desktop applications necessarily assume that users will eagerly embrace the inherent marketing content - which may well prove a risky assumption.
But it's easy to see how nearly any company might use a branded PromoClock as an easy, cheap component in a web marketing push. A Hollywood studio, for example, might have a PromoClock designed to include a countdown to the release of a new film, as well as an embedded link to purchase tickets. "It's not limited to one particular category or market," Kupinsky notes.
When asked about her company's plans for the immediate future, Kupinsky doesn't go much beyond "we hope to increase the functionality of PromoClock." Nonetheless, it's obvious that the company sees substantial opportunity in marketing and branding programs driven through desktop applications. Given that some experts have predicted that access to the Internet via desktop application will soon outpace access to the Internet via other means, the company may well be onto something.
"Every marketer wants the chance to advertise in a unique and user-friendly way," Kupinsky says. "We think PromoClock does this and more."