According to the Danone website, “Baby & Me, created by BETC, shows a street full of people rediscovering their inner youth – and dance moves – as their reflections reveal the baby versions of their adult selves.” If you haven’t seen the advert, you should watch “Baby & Me” on YouTube, it’s fantastic; a perfect example of a viral marketing campaign with over 59 million YouTube views. This advert builds on the success of their “Roller Babies” campaign from a few years ago (69 million views). I’ve shown it to my children and my wife and everybody I’ve mentioned it to seems to have seen it. Evian is reaching a mass market with relatively little TV advertising spend.
To capitalise on the success of the advert, Evian has commissioned the production of a “Baby and Me” app for iOS and Android. On the face of it, this looks like a great idea. The application takes a picture of you as an adult and then uses pattern matching to identify over 70 facial features in a database of baby pictures. The application then creates a composite image of you as a baby. This has great potential for social sharing of images and it isn’t hard to see how this could help to ensure that even more people get the “Release the inner you” message from Evian.
There is no doubt that viral media is a great marketing tool and mobile apps are a great way to use peer interaction and socialisation to spread a message quickly. All good news so far from a marketing / PR perspective, but…….
…….There’s always a “BUT” isn’t there?
The Evian app is sadly disappointing.
Anybody who downloads an app that doesn’t work first time is highly likely to delete it and never use it again. Negative publicity from colleagues and friends who can’t use the app will do a great deal to damage any positive marketing messages that the app was intended to create
It is highly likely that the application designers and developers have been forced to work to a difficult schedule to get this application to market. Whilst individual teams may have all tested their application components; it is highly likely that proper end-to-end testing, including testing over relatively slow 3G and Wifi networks has not been done. Performance testing is crucial for applications like this, a poor user experience will result in users abandoning the application and never downloading it again.
So what went wrong?
Whilst performance testing is a well-established profession……
…testers need to evolve.
- 15 years ago testers needed to understand thick clients and complex client-server apps.
- 10 years ago, web applications dominated the market and testers skills (and pay rates) started to fall.
- 5 years ago, Web 2.0 and mobile technologies started to develop and many testers failed to understand the complexity of more complex multi-tier web applications.
- Now testers need the ability, skills and tools to test across multiple devices and multiple networks and need a deep understanding of application architecture to ensure application stability, scalability and performance under load.
Many testers don’t have the required skills or testing tools to test complex multi-tier applications across different devices and network topologies. Evian have used big-hitting media companies, BETC Digital and B-Reel, to develop their application…. I bet they’re wishing that they had the application tested properly by an independent testing specialist before this week!