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10 indispensable apps for advertising chaps

January 27, 2010 4 comments

Hello everyone,

Having been forbidden from using an Iphone during my Nokia time at WK, I’ve been busy catching-up with this little technologic jewel. I don’t think I’ve been blown away by technology since the first time I accessed the Internet, 12 years ago.

In the last couple of months,  I’ve already spent hundreds of pounds trying every application that seemed vaguely interesting, and found quite a few that I think are indispensable for us advertising people. Most of them are based on the beliefs that you are someone curious who actually goes out, is interested in new things and happens to be on the go quite a lot. Otherwise, not much point I’m afraid!

Russell Davies, a few years ago,  famously said he would only hire planners who have a blog. Now that pretty much everyone has one, I’d be also very interested in having a peak at their Iphone to see what they use it for. And I’d be expecting to see quite a few of the ones below.

1/ A to-do app to get organised.

I personally use Todo. Once you get in the habit of updating it with the important and unimportant things you have to do, you will suddenly feel like a weight has been taken off your shoulder. Input a time for each task, and an alert will remind you when time is due. It’s so simple and easy to use it has become a life changer app already. It synches with the web service toddledo, so you can input your data on the web with your computer and still access your data from everywhere, it’s all saved on there for you, and you can even input your tasks straight there for more convenience.

I now have separated lists of things to do for work and home, assigned by projects (i.e. clients projects, with all the subsequent tasks associated and their due dates), plus the odd things I have to remember, like book a travel ticket and assign it to a time when I know I’m likely to be able to do it.

It’s just a question of routine, once you have got in the gist of doing it, you won’t regret it.

I also recommend the book Getting things Done. Its the poniest title ever, but has been of immense help for someone not naturally organised like me.

Other ones that I haven’t tried but look pretty good: Things, Pocket informant, and Omnifocus.

2/ A capture app

Capture apps are also growing in importance in my life.  They allow you to capture everything, from a picture to text, etc. and tag them. When I visited the V&A decode exhbition (highly recommended) I wanted to keep track of the installations descritions and artists names, so just snapped pictures of all of them, tagged them ‘digital art’ and decode, and they automatically were sent to my Evernote account, which meant they were ready for me to see when I arrived at work the next morning.

I also use it the other way around, as you can save entire online articles while browsing on your computer, and they are then automatically sent to your Iphone for offline reading.

I personally recommend Evernote, which I find fantastic.

The way you can browse your notes by location (as they are geo-tagged) is pretty amazing.

3/ Timeout

Love it, hate it, I actually find the app more helpful and stimulating than the actual magazine or website. For me Timeout has always suffered from an overdose of content, leaving me overwhelmed and incapable of making a decision.  There is such a thing as too much information.

But not the app, which allows me to search for things that are near me, but most importantly, the ‘inspire me’ section just aggregates the best of things to do. Perfect and ultimately, quite inspiring.  You have to give it to the peeps of Smirnoff as this is quite a good deal they made in the process. Hats off.

Another one you might want to consider is Spoonfed, which is not as good an app, but better for live music.

4/ Yelp

Yelp is really growing on me. Quite a recent app, it is garnering quite a peculiar following of enthusiasts that start reviewing every single bit of your neighbouroud. I actually find it fascinating and it somehow makes you feel stronger bonds with your community. It also happens to be quite helpful when in front of a restaurant you have never heard of.

The monocle section is also worth a look at, when you need inspiration on where to go for a quick bite or snack. As it shows you where everything is in an augmented reality way. This is actually useful. Although you do look like a geek in the street while using it and turning around.

5/ Spotify

Spotify! All the music in the world. For 10 euros a month. I’ve actually completely stopped downloading any music. Why download when you can stream? The best part being the playlist that you can create or share, you don’t even need to add the music, someone’s done it for you! For example, just click on the BBC 6 ‘best of 2009’ playlist on your computer, and bish bash bosh, it’s on your Iphone. And the cherry on the cake, you can actually download the whole playlist for offline listening. So when you get i nthe tube, it automatically switches on to your offline playlist.

I still find it hard to believe I can have access to pretty much any music, anywhere, at the tip of a finger.

6/ Foursquare

Now Foursquare is an interesting one. It’s a recent app, that hasn’t reached mainstream yet. Essentially, it allows you to get updates every time your friends go somewhere. If I go to a Pret, I can then ‘check in’ the Pret, for which Foursquare finds the location, and it will let all my friend now that I’m there. Foursquare also give you point for being the first one to check in new locations, and you can see your own ranking. It opens interesting opportunities for local initiatives, loyalty and driving footfall (say, everytime someone check-in a McDonalds, they get a free fries, or in a bar a free drink, etc)…

7/ Amazon

The Amazon app is actually pretty neat, almost dangerously, as its so easy to buy lots of stuff without even thinking about it. But the Amazon remembers is the cool bit, which allows you to take a picture of a movie, book or cd, which will then be automatically recognised by Amazon and give you the chance to order it straight away. Although I kind of miss Borders, so I might not be using it so much as to get all the local book shops to close.

8/ The Guardian

The Guardian is the ultimate news app. Another proof that the chap at the Guardian does really get digital. The app is a model of usability. I can download the entire content on my Wifi in the morning before my commute so I can read it in the tube. You can get access to all the podcasts from it. It’s just absolutely fantastic.

9/ Kindle or Stanza

I was skpetical about reading books on such a small screen, but it’s actually working quite well and I have been enjoying being able to read my books without having to carry them around. Stanza seems to be a better app, but Kindle seems to have more books. They are both free so you can always give it a go and see what suits you.

10/ Jamie Oliver

Now whether you like the man himself or not has nothing to do with the fact that this is one of the most impressive app in the market. You can see that lots of love has gone to this app and that when done right, it can also be extremely successful (this was the number one selling app for the Itunes for quite a few weeks I beleive).

The application is superbe in every aspect. All the content has been specifically thought FOR the Iphone. From being able to put all the ingredients in a shopping list, to the tutorial videos on how to cook simple things ,to step by step recipe with hi definition pictures. It’s perfection. And it actually got me into cooking. Sad, but true.

I also like the fact that there are only 55 recipes, so I don’t have to spend hours deciding which one I want. (Epicurious does that quite well.

(11) GAMES.

One should have games on an Iphone. Just to check them out. They are amazing. I would be disappointed not to at least find a couple of those in every Iphone: Real racing, Scramble, Pledge, Nova, Bejweled, Rolando, DoodleJump, Monkey Island(!),  Words with friends, etc. etc. There are just too many.

(12) WordPress, Facebook and a Twitter thingy, but I’d expect everyone to have them of course.

Hope this was helpful and please share your favourite ones.

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