Not just because I'm currently staring out at Niagara Falls as I write this from my more-or-less vacation, but I thought it was time for the Social Media Insider to turn the column over to the
community with another group critique. The one I chose this time was the RadioShack MyMosaic Facebook app that launched last week to promote RadioShack's digital imaging products and the "get more out
of every megapixel" positioning.
If RadioShack isn't the first store that comes to mind when you're thinking digital cameras and camcorders, that's part of the app's point. As critic
Shannon Nelson, publicist and chief blogger at Pierre Mattie Public Relations put it: "This program, being as impressive as it was, will create a greater awareness of what Radio Shack has to offer.
Not to mention the possible association of digital photography, photo sharing, simplicity and efficiency with the brand."
Created by Aegis Group's Carat with Moma Labs, here's the app's
: it recreates users' Facebook photos using the mosaic of their Facebook friends' photos. Click on your mosaic-ed eyeball for example, and you might discover, as I did, that
it's partly composed of Adweek
's Brian Morrissey with a dash of AKQA's Tom Bedecarre. Of course, the pictures, and the app, are shareable. Branding consists of the brand name and tagline at
the top of the app, along with pictures of two cameras -- clicking on them jumps users to the cameras and camcorders section of radioshack.com.
Nelson wasn't the only one who thought Radio
Shack MyMosaic hit the mark. Said David Griner, copywriter and social media analyst for Luckie & Co., and blogger at thesocialpath.com, "I have to say, I'm amazed how much I dig this application. I'm
usually not one for blatantly corporate Facebook apps that don't have a functional purpose. But MyMosaic (sorry, Radio Shack MyMosaic) is slick and addictive, especially when it comes to browsing your
Added Chris Cunningham, founder of AppSavvy: "I believe unless you can offer utility, cool content and the user has a reason to return, brands should think about
sponsoring existing applications rather than build their own. The Mosaic app does serve a purpose so I give it a thumbs up."
Said Molly Parsley, AKQA marketing and PR director (and
admitted fan of Carat CEO Americas Sarah Fay), "The fact that it's quick to compile a mosaic without a longwinded tutorial makes it that much more sharable."
Reflecting the broader social
media controversy of how much branding is too much in social media, the critics were split on whether the RadioShack branding within the app was too much-or too little. Said one critic who preferred
to be anonymous, "On one hand, I don't feel a strong connection back to the brand from the app, i.e. it doesn't scream, 'COME TO RADIOSHACK!' But, since the app is a lot of fun to play with, and isn't
overly pushy, I'm sure it will engage a lot of users .... One of the main keys to social network success (I think) is not to be overly intrusive and risk pissing off the consumer, and that's exactly
what RadioShack does (or doesn't)."
CondeNet Vice President Jane Grenier disliked the awkward segue from Facebook to the retailer's Web site. "It's always a bit of a shock to jump from the
friendly, fun atmosphere of my social networking world to the cold, impersonal world of an ecommerce site like RadioShack's." She also felt it was "too bad the brand ad at the top of the app couldn't
somehow have some of the playfulness of the mosaic functionality." Good point. The branding is a bit static.
Still, Grenier summed up the generally positive reviews for MyMosaic best,
saying, "From a marketing standpoint at least, it ties in nicely with RadioShack's camera pitch. ... Will I come back to it over and over? Doubtful. But it's fun to leave on your Facebook page for
friends to poke around in your eyeball and see who's hiding in there. Nicely done."
Gotta go. The Maid of the Mist awaits