iPhorest branches out to make first truly ‘living’ app

iPhorest, now available on the App store, means that users can now ‘activate a seedling both virtually and physically’ by downloading the app, growing a tree on their phone, and also as a result have the company behind the app, iPhactory, in conjunction with The Conservation Fund, plant a tree in real life and subsequently begin the regeneration of vulnerable wildlife habitat on the Gulf Coast.

The app is fun: you can dig a hole to plant your seed by using iPhones accelerometer, and create a storm to water your seed by shaking the phone. You can also view other iphorest users around the world. But mainly, the point is as surmised in the app’s copy line: “Not all apps need to be a killer. We’re happy to bring you one that’s living”.

Whether it will be successful or not remains to be seen. Thing for me is, a lot of companies are bringing out branded app content (think BMW/Audi’s driving sims, and recently Walkers Crisp flavour races…
Walkers Crisps
…but they are often of little value, and only really work as ‘FREE’ apps. But with a charitable slant on things, eg if the game has a purpose in the real world other than to drive a brand simply through awareness, if it relates to some sort of augmented reality tie in (perhaps in the iPhorest example you should be able to grow the tree successfully, and once this was done you could start again and another tree would be planted, thus increasing the longevity of the game and encouraging users to spend their five minutes waiting for the tube playing a ‘game’ which has consequence as opposed to one that does not); one that you could clarify its real world impact – then the value of this content on iPhone would surely be premium. A treasure hunt using an app, GPS, and the ‘real world’? An app where high scores translated into real life prizes or competitions? Who knows. But the current branded content is very basic. The nascence of augmented reality gaming, apps and mobile virtual/real play is something that brands should look out for and embrace, and is something I think agencies should be thinking about.

Now, I’m off to plant a tree.