Re-imagining the celebrity app

Adrian Grenier

Adrian Grenier / via The House of Turtle

Why doesn’t Adrian Grenier’s iOS app make me feel like part of his Entourage?

Recently I’ve come to the realization that most celebrity mobile apps stink. Nowhere was this more evident than in Adrian Grenier’s “Reckless” app that was released last week.

Before installing the app I read an extensive write up about it on PBS Media Shift, and while I won’t lie and say I was excited that Vinny Chase now had an iPhone/iPad app, I can say I was curious to see if he followed in the steps of Britney Spears and Samuel L. Jackson in creating a sub-par, gimmicky personal app.

Here is what Adrian had to say about his new personally branded app, and the platform its built on, called Reckless.

The medium and the format are really just the tool. It is about the personal voice of the artist that makes it unique. Twitter is only 140 characters, but it is the unique voice of the individual that allows people to differentiate themselves. I can see the Reckless app being more than just a platform for me. I can see other people using it to connect with their audience, their fans and their friends. I don’t know how much we need to reinvent our wheel; we need to spread it and share it.

 

So far so good, he is saying the right things. The voice of the artist. Personal connection with fans. This would be a truly original app if it lived up to his expectations. Let me hit up the app store to check this sucker out, I thought.

 

Adrian Grenier App

Here is where the written medium fails, because if I was on video here talking about this app I’d have my head in my hands, or if I was on a radio show there would just be dead air silence.

The app reminded me of a bunch of mashed up social networks with a sprinkle of ugly thrown in for good measure. I was disappointed. This was definitely not the app I’d have pictured coming from the star of Queen’s Boulevard.

There’s an app for that… its called Twitter.

I don’t have anything against Twitter (well, that isn’t completely true) but how lazy is it to create a social app and then just dump in a twitter feed? If you’re going to do it, then at least format it nicely, maybe make it seamlessly integrated with the rest of the app or at least filter so your tweets are what’s displayed first?

Teenage Paparazzo and Reckless Films goes to the exact same thing, an advertisement for a movie that Grenier stars in. No problem with plugging your own stuff, in your own app, but the design here is unimaginative and having two of the four sections of your app going to the same content is a little strange.

 

Adrian Grenier App Fan Snap

The Fansnapulous section is a photo and camera app that lets you take a photo of Adrian, or select from a list of included photos, and place an “autograph” on it. I’m not going to call this awesome, but it isn’t terrible. The end game here is I can share my fake picture and fake autograph of Adrian with my Facebook and Twitter friends. This is going to make me infinitely more popular!

Okay smarty pants, let’s see you do better

I am going to attempt to re-imagine this app for Adrian Grenier. In truth, someone should be doing this for all celebrity mobile apps because like I said from the outset, they leave a lot to be desired.

Let’s go back to Adrian’s motivation for doing this, in his own words.

The medium and the format are really just the tool. It is about the personal voice of the artist that makes it unique. Twitter is only 140 characters, but it is the unique voice of the individual that allows people to differentiate themselves.

 

Alright, so mission one is get fans an authentic, personal voice from the artist that doesn’t rely on 140 characters. Righto, so basing all communication with fans through my new app isn’t going to be relying on a Twitter feed (at least, not from the standpoint of primary messaging).

What else might be interesting for fans of Adrain Grenier, who lets face it, most people still associate with Vinny Chase. What would fans of a celebrity might want from a personally branded celebrity app?

  • What’s going on in their life?
  • Photos
  • Upcoming projects
  • Where they can see me?
  • How they can contact me?

 

Adrian App v2

The personal voice of the artist

Let’s start off with some basics. First, I think Adrian’s fans would appreciate large photos of him. I mean, I suppose you’d say he is a heartthrob, right? Maybe they’d want the ability to put large pictures of him as the wallpaper for their device? Let’s be honest, if you are going to invest in providing a celebrity app for someone to download, you have to assume they are fanatics, bordering on stalker, right?

Next, how about a personal message from him that isn’t confined to the limits of Twitter? We’ll write the message in a first person perspective (as if it comes from him) and make it personal and addressed just to me (e.g. wanted to share this with you).

We’ll have all the frills that iOS provides – inline image viewing, fades and the like. You know, make it look like every other iPad or iPhone app.

We could even go beyond this and have an audio message from Adrian.

In the old days, I worked with a company named Utterz to host audio messages from a few of the dance instructors on Dancing with the Stars that was put on a social networking site for fans to listen to. I’m certain something like this could be set up to let Adrian call in and leave messages for his fans, that would then show up each day on his app.

Adrian App Photo

Photos

From a photo perspective, I would take inspiration from other popular iOS photo apps like Instagram, Camera+ or even iPhoto for the iPad. I don’t hate the Fansnapulous feature on his current app, I just think its a little limited and boring. Integrate all the photos from not only other fans, but also from your own updates into one place.

Lets give fans quick access to all of the photos, and give them a swanky indicator to show them when there is a new one. Of course, we’d also bake in notifications to the device in case they aren’t in the app.

I liked the idea of the camera function in his current app so I left it here. But, it would be pretty sweet if it had some rockstar level filters to add glitz and glam to any photos taken. Maybe a partnership with Instagram?

Wallpaper download, as well as marking favorites feels like a no brainer – lets include those too.

 

Adrian App Projects

What does Adrian have going on?

According to IMDB, Adrian doesn’t have a film in production. So what is going on with him? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place to go look, like say, his app?

You’d be able to see his current project, be it film or charity work, shown above. Icons on the bottom of the project description could lead users to a conversation about it, maybe a trailer or a project blog with those personalized updates. Photos could work here as well. And why not a social media “street kit” to let fans promote the project?

 

Adrian App Messages

Let me talk to him

Finally, I would really like to see a well-thought out way for a fan to talk to an artist via social media. Sure, there is Twitter and sending @messages to people, but thats a crap shoot. Who knows if they actually viewed your message. And, good luck on actually ever getting a response. I find that celebrities tend to answer or re-tweet the most inane things.

Know what would be cool for our new Adrian Grenier app? A way to send him a message within the app, see when it was read and be notified on a response.

I admit, it would be a tall order to get a celebrity to spend the amount of time it would take to respond to each and every message. But since I am spit balling here anyway, why the hell not?

What would you pay for an app that had beautiful color photos, slick transitions and constantly updated content from your favorite celebrity or hero? With a built in way to get in touch with them? Adrian’s app is currently free, but I bet he could offset some of the cost of having a development company create him a new one with these features.

I know I’d pay pretty much infinity dollars for an Anna Torv app that had all of this stuff!