Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New social media platform may create unique advertising medium

By Lisa A.M. Bauman

Tunepics, the new social network created by former Topshop marketer Justin Cooke was launched globally on May 22nd in 150 countries. The Apple integrated app built by AKQA has caught the attention of both celebrities and popular brands2.

The main vision for the media platform comes from the idea that pictures are moments of our lives and that music communicates the emotion related to that moment. The company communicates this with its inspirational tagline “These moments are our lives and our lives have a soundtrack1.”

Users create this “soundtrack of their lives” by uploading a picture and searching for music using keywords to locate music tracks on iTunes. They then embed the image with the soundtrack. More interestingly, users use a rainbow-colored "emotion" wheel to select a color that communicates mood2.

Although the app generates its profits as an affiliate marketer by leading users to iTunes songs, Tunepics says that it is in talks with other music services to expand profit lines.

This article made me aware of a “storytelling” trend in social media and helped me understand the relationship of reliance of music in social media and therefore marketing and advertising. Since music requires useful technologies and use permissions, social media platforms do not currently supply sufficient use for such media. This opens up creative outlets for media using music – a media which seems to be universally understood to tap into human emotion, a powerful tool for advertisers and media. planners.

Because of these strategic insights, Tunepics may have hit gold with the new social media platform but it may also need some tweaking before it becomes a big name success. Let’s look at how the company’s strategy measures up to the “Five Rights” of marketing: Audience, Cost, Media Mix, Exposure, and Timing3.

The Right Timing: Kirkham mentions that Tunepics is tapping into the current trend in social media for enabling personalized storytelling and they are not the only one. Even Facebook recently launched a storytelling app called Paper2.

The Right Audience/Cost: Tunepics started out small and strong. They worked a deal with Apple knowing that the music supplier could provide more than 35 million sound tracks and a steady stream of income. Meanwhile, the audience had already been attracted by the company as music lovers who have an attraction to style. Now, to expand the profit margins Tunepics must expand its marketing budget and look into ways to attract more users and different types of music lovers2.

The Right Media Mix/Exposure: So far Tunepics has relied on support “from celebrities such as Jamie Oliver, and Lily Allen – who Tweeted about the network to her 4.7 million Twitter followers – and brands from Red Bull to Hunter.” The strategy seems to be working well for the company as long as it plans to stay within the Apple-only profit scheme. If the company wants to expand and get more exposure, other media will be needed. Also, some skeptics believe that Tunepics should integrate video to attract the right type of user. “Leo Burnett’s global head of social and mobile, James Kirkham, says he believes that social networks need to piggyback on existing human behavior – in this case, watching music with video2.” 

3 Media Strategy & Planning Workbook, DL Dikinson, Chapter 1 pages 105-106

** For MKTG 441, Media Strategy, Portland State University, Fall, 2014-2015