Doug Checkeris has always had his quirks. Now he has his Qwyrk. The quirky part comes from the fact that he's a Canadian media buyer who rose to be head of North America for one of WPP's leading media agency networks, Mediacom. The Qwyrky part comes from the fact that that's the name of the new venture he's been incubating since leaving WPP.
When I left MediaCom a couple of years ago I spent, time meeting with all kinds of people and companies in the investment and marketing services business,” he explains, adding, “I continue to be amazed by the ability of the agency business to fend off the application of disruptive technologies.”
That said, he believes some momentous change is coming, so he spent most of his hiatus angling around “ventures that are disruptive in nature, which suits my personality, and feature content and technology.”
The result is Qwyrk, a new app that officially launched Thursday that enables people to personalize email and social media messages with music, movie quotes and sound effects. Specifically, it’s an audio app that allows social media users to add up to 24-seconds of sounds, including songs, mobile soundtracks or audio effects to an email, Facebook post or Twitter tweet.
At launch, Qwyrk had already licensed “millions” of audio tracks from record labels, film studios and sound effect libraries. . In other words, Checkeris and his partners want to make Qwyrk the Instagram of sound.
As for the “monetization” model, well, given Checkeris’ background you might not be surprised to learn that it’s a 100% ad-supported one. And it’s a pretty ingenious one at that. While the app must be downloaded and installed for the person sending a Qwyrk, anyone can receive it - and the advertising embedded along with it.
There's even a commerce model, because Qwyrk effectively is a sampling opportunity for music labels, with a feature that enables full-length tracks to be purchased via online retailers."People have a basic need to be understood and Qwyrk offers a way to satisfy that need beyond emoticons and 'LOL's," says Checkeris.