Commentary

Stoli's New App Really Does Help You Remember What The Hell Happened Last Night

You have to take with a grain of salt (or swig of spirits) the “drink responsibly” tagline now attached to TV liquor spots. You don’t have to be as cynical as I to wonder how the partying images of those ads map against the amorphous call of “responsibility” or whatever that is supposed to mean. And do any of the business models behind these companies really rest on customer moderation?

But you have to hand it to vodka brand Stoli and their agency Rokkan; their ReCapp app that launches Monday is making sure its customers really do remember what the hell happened last night. The app collects social media posts from you and your partying comrades to create a “sizzle reel” of any night out.

The iOS/Android app has you connect to social nets like Facebook, Vine, Twitter and Instagram so that the app can on its own capture relevant posts that you and your invited guests post to any of these nets. While I haven’t gotten to use the unreleased app myself yet, the design is smart in not requiring that you use the app itself to make the recordings. The app collects the posts as you and your friends use your accustomed social media apps. You interact with the app to set up the event, connect the social nets and set a duration. When the event is over, the ReCapp renders a video.

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The company promises that the video creations are more than animated slide shows but do add polish and an arc to the evening story. In the demo I saw headlines and contributor handles were overlaid. The company says the video is highly customizable so that it reflects time of day, breadth of social contributions, and city, weather. Etc.   

Which is not to say there are no legal constraints on all of this. This being an app designed to capture nights out, bachelor parties, and other events you may not remember clearly, there are not only strict terms of service but actual monitors involved in approving the videos for sharing. They tell me that a third-party company that specializes in this sort of monitoring will join with Rokkan and Stoli legal teams to ensure no one is posting “Hangover Part IV.” The TOS loudly excludes drunkenness, abuse, driving under the influence, inclusion of children, pornography, extreme profanity, and anyone under 18.

Okay -- well, good luck with that. What is going to pass muster? Uptown Vodka tastings? And what is “extreme profanity” anyway? As opposed to garden variety profanity?

Well, I kid because they are trying at least. What is interesting about the app is that its functionality is around shaping and polishing user-generated content into personal media of a higher order. This is one of the emerging waves of mobile service. Rather than trying to guess what content a customer wants from their brand, marketers are beginning to help the user do what already comes naturally and what they really love to do most -- make their own content about their own lives. The torrent of personally generated media is begging for third parties to help organize it and give it shape. While a far cry from Stoli, Disney did something like this months ago with an app that used date and location tags in your photo gallery to craft personal portfolios around moments. This is an enormously promising way that brands can be of service -- by addressing the digital media clutter rather than adding to it, making the mobile activity that someone already enjoys all the more enjoyable.

But just for personal reference, I do still want to know how many f-bombs and which other words will promote me from being merely profane to being extremely profane.  

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