Heineken is no stranger to the App Store. The premium beer brand has been churning out everything from dart games to sophisticated tie-ins the international soccer matches and rugby match-ups. They seem to believe in the app as a branding tool and don’t get by cheap. To wit their latest entry is a music mixer (iOS, Android) that allows the user to create and submits their own electronic dance mix. The winner will get VIP access to the 15th annual Ultra Mix Festival.
The contest portion of this Ultra Remix app program only runs until Feb. 22. But Heineken and developer partner Cultur8 have built a substantial tchotchke here that engages the user in the process of remixing a host of vocal, beat, bass lines etc that drag and drop onto a timeline for easy builds. It is the kind of can’t-go-wrong process that gives the user immediate gratification. User-generated programs like these always have the challenge of encouraging creativity and letting the user get overwhelmed by the challenge or the possibilities. This app strikes a nice balance.
I asked Leanne Maciel, Heineken’s manager of sponsorships and activation, about the brand’s use of apps as engagement tools. She told me: “We are continuously evolving how we talk to our consumers and have found that apps leverage the consumer’s increasing involvement with mobile technology. Previously, for the Latin Grammys, we released the Heineken Decoder App using the Heineken bottle and a cool augmented reality experience as a platform to enter a sweepstakes to win a VIP trip to the Latin Grammys.”
As marketing tools, it is not always clear to me whether apps are aimed mainly at the brand loyalist or really are effective at acquiring devotees. Maciel says it can be both. “Our target consumer responds to brands that talk to them through their passion points -- in this case, music. Our target is the one trying new things first -- new adventure, taking existing things and creating something fresh. We wanted to provide him with a new experience and build excitement leading up to Ultra that’s organic for the brand and consumer, so an app made sense strategically.”
Heineken is using multiple channels online and off to get the app into beer drinkers’ hands. A QR program at retail will link smartphone users to Google Play or the App Store while the brand’s Facebook page, a dedicated Facebook page (11 million likes), is also pushing its mass of followers to the app.