Saturday, October 20, 2007

iPhone, Starbucks' Song of the Day and CTIA Parties!

So I did it, I bought an iPhone after all my cranky whining. I still think they should have 'copy and paste', but I didn't feel like waiting until the new pressure sensitivity iPhone touchscreen patents that were recently filed proved ready for a 2nd gen phone with super copying powers. So I guess that makes me impatient as well as lazy :-) . Whatever the reason, I'm now part of the wave of high schoolers, college kids and timely adaptors who will jump on the bandwagon this coming holiday season.

I heard from a thoughtful client this week that Apple was running a Starbucks 'Song of the Day' promotion for the month of October, and that I should stop drinking dishwater coffee for a while so I can get songs from artists who may or may not be dead, like bob dylan, john fogerty and others who've barely existed for more than a few months. The John Legend song, 'Show Me' was the best of the bunch so far.

I walked in ready for my free T-MO hotspot service, so I set my wifi to pick up the signal. I ended up buying john legend because I saw him at the Advertising Week Yahoo! party at BB Kings and thought it would be good to hear why so many girls were going crazy about him. The song download worked immediately and it visually jumped from the storefront to my download area, which I thought was really a cool and useful effect for someone who is always wondering if what he's doing is playing with is in fact working. I used to be one of those kids at the arcades who didn't know that it was really impossible to play donkey kong without putting in a quarter. Later I moved on to scrambled playboy channel etc. But anyway, I put down my coffee and tried to download the song of the day, and that's when all the trouble began.

So, first, the hotspot didn't actually work - not sure what was going on, but only after calling T-MO and getting told to let them call me back (using a nice automated call back service) that the connection finally worked and the Starbucks logo showed up in my iTunes application. However, the real problem with the experience at Starbucks was that whole song of the day promotion didn't go the extra mile and let you redeem the song on the iPhone. Why advertise iPhone access if you aren't going to run the promotion for the iPhone? T-MO did it's part, (although no one in their customer service had heard of the promotion) because they let me into their hotspot for free which made me want to talk about myself in the third person like Jimmy does when he's in his hotspot.

However, Starbucks or iTunes were overselling the iPhone here, they'd let you buy for 0.99, but would not let you participate in the Song of the Day promotion until you got back to your laptop or desktop and used the card to send enter in your promotional code. It does not seem like a technological constraint, maybe the timing for upgrading the iTunes store to run promotions was too tight. I don't know, but they did had enough time to print the POS material. I think the promotion is great, and probably no small feat to get three huge companies to agree legally to do what they are doing.

Starbucks does deserve some credit though, it's staff very able people trying to figure it out, and if they can't they just give you all sorts of crappy songs as a parting gift for not being able to solve the problem, which I think is great customer service....

Anyone going to CTIA in San Francisco? Here's a mobile website to help you confine your wandering to safe industry sponsored events. If you have ideas for parties outside of the mobile ghetto near Moscone put them in a comment, maybe I'll see you there this week.

CTIA Party List - Mobile Website

Now playing:
Chairmen of the Board - Pay to the Piper
via FoxyTunes

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