If there's one human pastime that wouldn't seem to benefit from technology, it's air guitar. Nonetheless, Crispin Porter + Bogusky has just launched the latest in a long line of air guitar apps for smart phones, this time for client Pringles.
The Pringles app, known as Crunch Band, uses the phone's accelerometer to trigger musical tones. Every time the user shakes the phone, the app emits a guitar (or bass, or drum) sound. Hence by holding the phone in his "strumming" hand, the user can actually produce chords while pretending to play the guitar.
The app allows the user to switch between chords, ostensibly to create a song, provided he is quick of thumb and versed in music theory. Users can also unlock new instruments by scanning the bar code on a pack of Pringles.
The app is free, but is only available in Sweden and the UK. It's being promoted there as tie-in to the summer music festival season. Crunch Band is available for both iPhone and Android phones. Pringles has no immediate plans to launch the app in the U.S.
While the connection between air guitar and Pringles may seem tenuous, Martin Jon Adolfsson, art director at CP+B, said via e-mail that the app is " a natural continuation of the brand's communication" because "music has been used as a social channel connecting people with the Pringles brand in many of their previous campaigns." The reason for rolling it out again now is that Pringles' "target audience is Scandinavian youth; a demographic that loves and defines themselves by their music."
Smart phone apps claiming to enhance the air guitar experience have been around nearly as long as smart phones, with varying degrees of functionality. Like the Pringles app, "Air Guitar" from Inedible Software produces chords chosen by the user when he or she shakes the phone. Somewhat more sophisticated is "Air Guitar Move," which is operated by a pick that plugs into the phone.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
March 19, 2014