The StunFone isn't real, but there appears to be a market for it

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Nov 16 2010

Just $24.95 seems like a small price to pay to turn your iPhone into a Taser in order to send 90,000 volts of electricity coursing through your two-timing boyfriend's body. But maybe I'm just partial to Jackass-style attacks. It turns out, though, that a product recently marketed as the "StunFone," a handy snap-on device that makes the iPhone a non-lethal weapon, is actually a hoax. (My dumb phone probably couldn't even shoot pepper spray.) The product demo got a lot of ink and views, probably because people could think of a million and one uses for such an item and wanted it to be true. (There was a halfway believable backstory.) In fact, it's a promo for Stun Creative, a boutique ad agency in Los Angeles that recently worked on promos for Conan O'Brien's late-night TBS talk show. Looking forward to the StunFone encore, though it'll be tougher to fool people next time around.

Was Apple behind impromptu iPhone concert on NY subway?

By David Kiefaber on Mon Oct 25 2010

Indie-ish rock band Atomic Tom played a free, impromptu iPhone concert on an NYC subway last week after their equipment was stolen, so naturally some people assumed that it was a publicity stunt set up by Apple to guerrilla market a product that almost every American owns already. Whether it was real or staged is kind of a useless question, because either way it's still advertising the iPhone by using it to problem-solve. Not everyone needs an ad agency to be creative, you know. But beyond that, the most amusing part of this story is how unremarkable it is—people play free music on real instruments in subway stations and other public thoroughfares all the time. What people should be asking after all this is whether a band that can recreate their music on iPhone instrument simulators is really worth listening to (hint: no they're not).

Kimberly-Clark's Pull-Ups introduces potty-training iPhone app

By Elaine Wong on Thu Aug 19 2010


Just when you thought iPhone app developers had seized every thinkable opportunity out there, along comes this one: Now, you can potty-train your kid using a free mobile app from Kimberly-Clark. The maker of Huggies diapers and Pull-Ups training pants is introducing a new app, iGo Potty, this week that does just well, exactly that. It encourages both parents and kids alike to participate in the potty-training process (and hopefully make it fun along the way) with interactive features like customizable potty reminders, prizes and games and even special calls from "Patty the Potty." (Yes, the toilet is calling. Make sure you get your toddler to answer it.) What's more, upon successful completion of this important life stage, the app lets out a stream of graduation-themed music, as well as (virtual) balloons and streamers. There's even a diploma you can print out and hang on the fridge. Mobile marketing agency Joule created the app. We can't wait to try it ourselves. Does it work on a dog?

Now, Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum will do your sweet talking for you

By Elaine Wong on Wed Aug 11 2010


Just when you need some sweetness in your day, Juicy Fruit, the (now Mars-owned) Wrigley gum brand, has launched a new mobile app that lets you do just that. The app, called "Sweet Talk," available in Apple's iTunes Store, lets you pick from one of "five mouthy characters." You then hold your phone over your mouth, and the characters blurt out sweet nothings to whoever's standing nearby. The gang comes armed with 25 sweet sayings. The characters include DJ Spraytan, "a fist-pumper from the Jersey Shore," who says things like, "You're so sweet, I wanna take you on the tilt-a-whirl. You gonna keep the cookies in the jar, or what?" For those of you who love your next-door neighbors, look no further than Mrs. Nextdoor. Her catchy phrases include: "You're so sweet, I'm gonna take you out for an ice-cream sundae. You da toppins!" (Yeah, man!) Ad agency Evolution Bureau create the app, which is free. No, didn't think you would actually pay for it.

Ben & Jerry's iPhone app adds trippy augmented-reality element

By Elaine Wong on Mon Jul 12 2010


Ben & Jerry's has updated an iPhone application that brings the ice-cream experience to life, literally. The maker of such flavors as Phish and Chunky Monkey added a new augmented-reality feature called Moo Vision to its Scoop of Happiness app. As of launch time, there are four "dioramas" that come to life when you hold a pint of Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk, Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough or Milk & Cookies to your iPhone. The images include cage-free chickens, cows, cocoa farmers and Big Apple landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Upon collecting all four dioramas, iPhone users get a special downloadable Ben & Jerry's mobile wallpaper. The app also allows people to link to social-networking sites like Facebook (to show off one's collection). At moment, we're just happy knowing our favorite ice-cream elements can jump off the screen.

Nissan Leaf changes the course of humanity in brand's new iAd

Posted on Fri Jul 2 2010

If you were one of the thousands who lined up for your new Apple iPhone 4, you can now, uh, enjoy one of the new features—an iAd for the Nissan Leaf. The ad, which jumps from a banner to full-screen, compares the electric car to the iPhone (which is also electric!) and declares it a "perfect match" for the device. Nissan touts the ad as a "perfectly seamless experience" within the iPhone, since it doesn't send you to a separate browser. The actual ad is pretty cool, but after the novelty fades, it's hard to imagine many people using up their power and bandwidth to watch cool ads. But, hey, I didn't think anyone would buy the iPad, either. What do I know?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

World is one big video-calling lovefest Sam Mendes' iPhone 4 ad

Posted on Wed Jun 9 2010

Apple got American Beauty director Sam Mendes to work his magic on this ad for the new iPhone 4, whose primary selling point is the "Facetime" video-calling app. Just in time, too, as a bright new shiny thing can again distract people from Apple's flaws, like the slipshod labor monitoring and WiFi deficiencies. We've seen this before—people want to buy iPads despite not really understanding what, if anything, they do. Once again, Apple has hit upon the ultimate balance of marketing their consumers' intelligence while profiting from their credulity.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

Beer and exercise finally join forces in Miller's MGD iPhone app

Posted on Tue Mar 16 2010


Because every athlete knows (or should know) that beer is the cornerstone of any training regimen, Miller has introduced an iPhone app called the MGD Pedometer 64 that lets you track the amount of calories you're burning while doing cardio. The app is related to MGD 64, a brew that clocks in at 64 calories, which is roughly the amount the average person would burn by running about half a mile at a decent speed. Of course, there's a social-media function as well: You and your Facebook friends can try to walk up Mount Everest 64 times (a mere 704,000 steps) or burn the 152,896 calories you'd ingest from 64 pizzas. While doing your calculations, you may decide that drinking water rather than MGD 64 will save you even more calories, or you may discover that all that extra exercise makes you extra hungry, prompting you to eat even more, in which case you may want to bag the whole thing, get a six-pack of Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre beer, accept the fact that you have a beer gut, and call it a day.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Google's new Nexus One phone gets all up in the iPhone's grill

Posted on Fri Jan 8 2010

Google this week announced the launch of its über-cool smartphone called Nexus One, which promises the ultimate Web experience on a phone. A commercial for the new device shows off its features to a spacey tune that plays in the background. Clearly, Nexus is being positioned as an iPhone rival, from its Web capabilities to its actual design. But any ad challenging the iPhone deserves a good spoof, like the one posted here, by Landline TV. In the foul-mouthed video, Nexus is appropriately renamed the "Fuck You iPhone," allowing you to "text asses to iPhone users," use "audio neutralization" to block blabbing iPhoners, and turn on the "optimized urination interface" to "fuck with any iPhone's shit." The Google phone is so good, it will also invite itself over to your house, prank order 20 pizzas and steal your girlfriend. Hey, don't make that face! I didn't make this stuff up.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Liberty Mutual iPhone app dares you to drive like an old person

Posted on Wed Jan 6 2010


There are so many branded iPhone apps out there now that a new one is rarely newsworthy. But Liberty Mutual's Driver Seat (iTunes link) is the exception that proves the rule. The idea behind the app, a driving game, is to give people a rough idea of how it can be for old folks to control their vehicles. As someone who frequently drives behind seniors, I was intrigued. It turns out it's harder than it looks, and if I were driving around in my golden years right now, I'd be in jail for multiple homicides. Still, it's hard to see how this will make Liberty Mutual's stated mission—talking to a parent or loved one about their declining driving skills—any easier. And most gallingly, it lacks a "Leave turning signal on in perpetuity" option.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman



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