A-Tono: A 10 years’ old investment in Italian Mobile [INTERVIEW]
Mobile Marketing is a widely recognized opportunity for brands, and it’s accessible by anyone. However, investing in technology requires creativity, commitment and responsibility. How? We asked the question to A-Tono, the Company behind the Swarmbit project, which was recently awarded the special prize for enterpreneurial innovation at IAB Mixx 2012.
A-Tono is defined as a Company/Agency, with three Italian offices in Milano, Pontedera (Pisa) and Catania, and one office in Rio Der Janeiro, Brasil. A-Tono is a good example of Mobile Investment, right here, in “Bel Paese” [Italy].
Our questions were answered by Sergio Müller, creative and planning director, and Valeria Piazza, product innovation manager and creator of swarmbit.
Your Company has been investing in creativity and technology for the past 10 years, how would you comment on your achievements?
Sergio Müller: we gladly notice that a long term investment in technological know-how marries to a renewed creative and strategic push, resulting in both visibiliy and business achievements; such results, besides the obvious satisfaction, enable us to evangelize about the future developments of communication between brands and people, and stimulate businesses to look beyond the status-quo which we all know.
Let’s talk about your awarded Swarmbit app. Swarmbit is about sharing “hic et nunc”, which means to support a community that needs to share “right here and right now”. Can you explain how the idea was born, and how the app works.
Valeria Piazza: Swarmbit is an unique application that enables the geolocalized, temporary sharing of contents. The app is inspired by the concept of “swarm” as defined by sociologyst Zygmunt Bauman: “Swarms assemble and disperse and gather again from one occasion to another, guided by shifting relevances and attracted by changing and moving targets”.
From there, the idea of creating an app targeting temporary crowds that form hic et nunc around shared interests, crossing the line of personal networks. Thanks to Swarmbit, the swarm’s members, who may be completely unknown to each other, can quickly and easily interact and share/distribute photos, video, music, presentations, documents and whichever files are generated within that specific context, to enhance the overall experience of the entire audience.
Swarmbit is both location based and cloud based: is it possible to store the downloaded files?
Valeria Piazza: due to the fact that the contents and folders shared through swarmbit are only temporarily available, users may choose to save them through the app and then export them through standard clouds such as Dropbox, Box and SugarSynch, in order to access them from their smartphone, PC and tablet.
One interesting aspect of Swarmbit, which makes it a social app, is that users can also add comments to the shared files. What are the potential and future uses of this application?
Valeria Piazza: Swarmbit is a flexible app that can be used in many different ways. Users can select the sharing mode that best fits a given situation.
With Swarmbit, users can create geolocalized and password-protected folders, which are perfect for sharing photo and video at private events, or public folders to distribute and share contents, and communicate without constraints with anyone within range, which is perfect for sharing contents at tradeshows, sports events, concerts, cultural events and so forth.
In addition, with the “bulletin board” enabled, it is possible to comment on both folders and their individual contents, and take part to conversations that form around them.
Let’s now talk about another project at A-Tono: you have invested on an integrated mobile strategy for Playboy Fragrances by Coty, creating an app, Pump Up The Beat, associated to a contest. Can you describe such campaign?
Sergio Müller: Playboy fragrances is a line of perfumes, targeting both males and females in the range 16-24. Its spirit is sexy and open-minded, it is a true ally in the quest for conquering the other sex. Pump Up The Beat reflects the brand positiong through one mobile application, it accelerates the loved one’s pulse, the same adrenaline rush experienced at clubbing events.
Users can record a message, then mix it with dance loops to produce a track of their own, and send it to their “target”. In addition, the track can be shared and voted upon by friends, gaining the opportunity of climbing a weekly hit parade and win fantastic prizes, including a week in Europe’s clubbing capital, Berlin. The point of sale, mobile, social and web are all used to amplify the brand awareness through the customers’ own passion!
In your opinion, which aspects and which technologies of future mobile will be most interesting, in particular way for a successful marketing strategy?
Sergio Müller: all of them! We are experiencing first hand the development of proximity technologies, which really enable timely and relevant communications based upon our current position. Also, don’t forget the augmented reality technologies, which are increasingly easier to use, and provides us with all information we need right off the environment around us.
Meanwhile, we notice how SMS, in its simplicity, can enable an extremely fast channel with really high response rates, when properly updated by advanced analysis and management platforms, and used creatively and not intrusively. For sure, this is only the beginning, and there’s still a need for a culture of responsible use of proximity among agencies and companies, but it will be fun!