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October 01, 2010


Guillaume Beaumont

The most brilliant moves often come from unexpected sources, so kudos to Kraft on a good mobile strategy.

It really infuriates me when I read about all those so called experts suggesting companies invest in iPhone and Android apps that most of the time amounts to a glorified themed RSS reader.

Mobile can do so much more than what most companies in North America are doing with it, it's such a tragic lack of imagination.

Alexander Oswald

Excellent to read. Actually the first big brand like this of which I read such a statement. can you send me the link, where Kraft posted this statement? thanks

Kraft & iPods, iPads & iPhones

The Kraft iFood app for iPhone launched in 2008 hahaha

They even have a recipe book for iPods hahahaha

and an iPad app hahahahaha


Mr. Kraft (nice name :-), perhaps if they do have apps for iDevices already then they have realised that they are limiting their exposure to a small number of their potential consumers. Maybe this can be seen as an early sign that the businesses out there are beginning to realise that there is a much bigger audience to be reached than iOS users alone. A bit of a stretch to be sure, unless anyone working at Kraft is willing to share.

It seems to me that folks are beginning to agree that mobile will almost always win - it's too personal to lose, apart from certain areas where the device is physically too small. Further, since there are at least 5 (and increasing) different OS' which you should target for even the smartphone part of that market, then the apps strategy begins to look very expensive unless you have a killer intersection of user demographics and brand. I expect the web to take over almost all of this consumer relations and advertising activity eventually - isn't there a saying that 'web always wins', so why should it be different on mobile.. We're just not quite there with the technology yet, but we will be soon(ish).

Apple's original vision for the iPhone apps solution will turn out to be the right one, but they were just about 5 years too soon. I'm not blowing smoke up apple's ass though - I was in a startup back in the late 90s with (more or less) the same vision. We turned out to be at least 15 years too soon. We tried to get it going, but most people didn't get it. We probably weren't the first either - the idea has been around since at least '94 that I'm aware of. Apple won't be the last to go with a web solution either. Since then there has been at least Palm, and there is lots of global effort going into HTML5 and widget hosting environments. The difficulty in the web apps space isn't so much seeing that it's coming, it's predicting when.

Plus, HTML+CSS+Javascript is a really shitty technical solution, but it'll be 'good enough' on most devices in a few years. That's when we'll see the real explosion in mobile, this is just the beginning, maybe even still the beginning of the beginning.


"Then when you've done that, go ahead and do your smartphone apps or iPhone apps. If you start from the apps, it is a classic case of the iSyndrome, as Martin Wilson tells us, is the mistaken notion that creating an iPhone app translates into a mobile strategy."

That's a blanket statement - you can't apply that to all brands, sorry it's a ridiculous thing to say. Why not start with apps if the data supports it?

Tomi Ahonen

Hi Guillaume, Alexander, Kraft, Chris and Murat

Guillaume - thanks and we agree obviously

Alexander - I saw it referenced on Twitter from a comment from a tech conference. I am travelling now so having very limited accessability, but am eager to dig into the Kraft statement and find officials saying that and explaining it further. I will post the link when I find it (and obviously if any readers here have the link, please post)

Kraft - haha, thanks. I have no visibility to Kraft's past, but like Chris says here in reply to you, it may be that Kraft had an inefficient strategy in the past, or they may also have had other mobile methods in the past like SMS, WAP, voice IVR, etc.

Chris - thanks! Very good points and we agree.

Murat - you make a good point. There are of course some very specific areas where starting with an iPhone app makes sense - that is, if you are a tech brand, selling Apple eco-system related goods, lets say like Macintosh laptop bags or replacement earphones for iPods. Yes, if the target is very specifically that Apple user base (only) then yes, by all means, start with an iPhone app

In all other cases its the dumbest thing you can do. Your app immediately rejects 95% of Americans, 99% of Europeans and wealthy Asians and 99.5% of the rest of the planet by that moronic 'strategy'. The reason iSyndrome is so wide-spread is because Apple is the darling of both advertising and media brands, so they get stuck into a kind of alternate universe with group-think, because my friend from the ad agency also has an iPhone, and my boss the VP of marketing has an iPhone, therefore everybody on the planet has an iPhone (or at least, everybody who matters..)

In reality, every economically viable person has a mobile phone. The total population of mobile phone subscribers is 5.1 Billion and counting. The cumulative sales of iPhones is about 60 million, far less than those are actually in use. That means about 1% of all mobile phone users on the planet are 'lucky enough' (read rich enough) to own an iPhone. The math is utterly crushing and anyone who ignores it, needs to go to remedial math classes.

No phone left behind makes sense. After that, go ahead and do your sexy iPhone app. But its utterly idiotic to start with the platform which reaches 1/100 the size, and costs 10x more to make. Utterly idiotic. Except yes, if you are a supplier of Apple related goods, then it makes sense to start with iPhone app.

Thank you all for writing

Tomi Ahonen :-)


No the dumbest thing you can do is give advice without knowing what someone is trying to achieve.

You like analogies - you're like a doctor prescribing a cure without knowing the patients problem. Reach is not the most important thing and reach is NOT the same as response.

Your fundamental problem is you are focusing on the wrong things with your advice. Time and time again we've seen successful apps, why? Because the idea and execution was spot on. That's what is important, if you get those wrong you'll fail on WHATEVER platform/channel you chose.

Mobile web/SMS/MMS will not save a crap idea. Neither will an app. And that's where you start, with a solid proposition, objectives and execution. Not with how many phones can be reached.

If you honestly think brands spend tens of thousands of pounds creating an application because the head of marketing wets his pants over his new retina display on his new iPhone then that's a awfully naive way of thinking.

Business decisions are backed up by data. Most of the time brands choose to create an iPhone app due to large amounts of mobile traffic coming from iOS. A decision is then made how best to spend the marketing budget based on this information. Its not rocket science why they choose to create apps.


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What a well-researched article — thanks for putting in the time to look into the back-stories of all these famous brands. I had no idea the Twitter bird came from iStockPhoto, of all places!

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