NEW YORK Coca-Cola has joined the stampede of brands onto the iPhone with a new app for users to play a 21st century game of spin the bottle.
Spin the Coke is billed as a way to "break the ice or to give that someone special a not so subtle hint." After downloading the app from the iTunes store, users spin a Coke bottle image that appears on their phone. The application is free.
"Coke is about bringing people together," said Freddie Laker, director of digital strategy at Sapient, the Coke roster shop that created the app. "It is about youth culture, and sitting around playing spin the bottle epitomizes that."
It joins another free application Coke created for the iPhone. The Magic Coke Bottle app is a twist on the Magic Eight Ball. Users can shake their iPhone's Coke bottle image to get answers to life's burning questions. Players can choose from five backgrounds and two themes, with each background having different music. They can also customize the bottle between the classic Coke and the modern version.
Coke joins several big name brands like Target and Nike looking to connect with users through the popular Apple phone. Some are emphasizing utility, others whimsy. The goals are the same: get users to bring their brands onto their phones and with them at all times.
Nike has gone the utility route with a recently released application for Nike Training Club, its third and most advanced iPhone app. The app, developed by digital agency R/GA, lets users design workout plans from videos on NikeWomen.com, which are then transferred to the iPhone. The idea is for women to have a customized workout plan, which is combined with a calendar function. Users get points for completing workouts, part of an effort to motivate them to continue.
A challenge for brand applications is they compete with many other similar offerings from developers. Brands, including Coke and Nike, have a spotty track record on Facebook creating applications with much staying power.
Spin the Coke, for instance, is just one of several spin the bottle applications available in the iTunes store. The Magic Coke Bottle, likewise, competes with other Magic Eight Ball-type applications. Apple has approved an estimated 16,000 applications for the iPhone.
"It's gotten to the point now that you actually have to put something out that can cut through the clutter and it has to be promoted properly," said Laker.
Coke will promote the application on its own properties and via blogger outreach, he said, with the goal being to reach the list of the top 25 free apps for the iPhone.