Thursday, July 15, 2010

Meredith deepens relationship with advertisers through app development; Kraft app promotes smart eating habits

The relationship between Kraft and Meredith Integrated Marketing (MIM), the media firm's marketing services division, is deep and long established. One product of this relationship is the new iPad app built for the food manufacturer called Big Fork Little Fork, a food application that hopes to promote smart eating habits and a deeper appreciation of good food.
The new app was created by MIM and The Hyperfactory, the mobile marketing agency that also helped with the development of the iPhone app iFood Assistant by KRAFT. The iPad app costs $1.99 to download and contains 300 recipe ideas, tips, interactive games and how-to videos.

“Big Fork Little Fork is one of the most groundbreaking experiences to have been unleashed on the iPad,” said Derek Handley Co-Founder and CEO of The Hyperfactory in a release. “It illustrates the creativity with which this device can change the game for brands wanting to innovate how they interact with consumers.”

To TNM, the app illustrates once again the value of electronic custom publishing, and developing publishing capabilities such as app development that can not only be used for a publisher's print brands, but also can be promoted to customers. Here, MIM's strong relationship with Kraft has allowed the marketing services company to develop a new media product for Kraft that is consistent with gthe company's marketing goals, and is innovative and creative at the same time.

"Kraft Foods understands that parents are hungry for food ideas that their kids will enjoy,” Kraft's Ed Kaczmarek, Director of Innovation, Consumer Experiences is quoted as stating in the release. “Our Big Fork Little Fork app is specifically designed to answer that need and is set to transform how families approach cooking and eating together. We see the iPad as the ideal device to host our newly developed content – it’s a highly interactive way for parents to engage with the app both in the kitchen and around the home.”

Because Big Fork Little Fork is not a media app there is no reason to closely examine the app as a media product. Instead, the real message here is that Meredith's marketing services division has successfully produced for their customer a tablet app that is also part of the brand's marketing and advertising -- this is essentially custom electronic publishing, an area most media companies have failed to exploit. As a result many new apps are being created by third party developers. The Infiniti automotive magazine that TNM wrote about a week ago is a very good example, and a wonderful iPad magazine. Less successful examples would include the horrible Pottery Barn catalog app that is doing the brand more harm than good.
Here, Kraft has picked good partners and should benefit from the decision to build this app.

Unfortunately, Meredith's marketing services division appears to be far more innovative and aggressive than Meredith's publishing arm which has not produced apps for mobile media.

One might say that Meredith's publishing brands are definitely traditional and do not lend themselves to the iPad or mobile media -- but this would be old think in the extreme.

If Kraft's new iPad app is good brand marketing then why would a magazine app also not be good marketing? The Kraft app is not an app directly promoting Miracle Whip, for instance, but is part of an overall marketing strategy. Surely there would be a similar marketing value to an app that bares the name of Family Circle or Midwest Living -- it would not have to be a straight conversion of the print magazine (though I would build that app as well). If the editors and publishers are too old school to understand where publishing is going then it will be up to the magazine marketing people to lead the way. Clearly Meredith has built up their capabilities in this area, it would be a shame if the only ones that take advantage of this are the advertisers.

As appears to be common practice now, a video was produced that demonstrates the new Kraft app: