Self-proclaimed "original super premium ice cream" brand Häagen-Dazs is going high tech with classical music in an app meant to make it easier to wait for perfect ice cream.
The Häagen-Dazs Concerto Timer app, which it says is the "first iOS mobile app to integrate detailed 3D Kinect technology and video data that delivers a cutting-edge augmented reality experience especially for ice cream enthusiasts," launched August 1. It features a two-minute concerto that helps consumers understand the amount of time needed to prepare Häagen-Dazs ice cream "in order to get the full, rich consistency and allow all the flavors to fully bloom," the brand says.
According to Häagen-Dazs, allowing ice cream to soften slightly for two minutes, which is also called tempering, enhances the texture and exposes fans to "the craftsmanship of premium ingredients that is characteristic of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt."
In order to utilize the app, users point their iPhone cameras at one or two Häagen-Dazs cartons and align the dotted line guide with the lid. Recognizing the visual of the lid, the app launches a virtual violin performance of Bach Inventions No. 14. The addition of a second carton reveals a cellist accompanying the violinist in a duet. While the music is playing, users can share the experience on Facebook and Twitter.
By the end of the concerto, the ice cream will have softened to the perfect consistency, Häagen-Dazs says.
"Traditionally, augmented reality technology has involved flat video or low polygon 3D objects with a very limited and robotic range of motion," the brand says. "Unlike other augmented reality apps, the Concerto Timer app integrates detailed 3D Kinect and video data."
What's more, Häagen-Dazs says the app captures the nuances of the real violin and cello performances "enhanced with expressive particles, resulting in an ethereal and unique creative style. This approach allows the musicians to move with a fluid natural motion in 3D space."
According to Häagen-Dazs Brand Manager Cady Behles, the idea for the app came about when Haagen-Dazs was conducting focus groups with loyal brand users.
"They talked about the importance of tempering the product or allowing the ice cream to warm up after you take it out of the freezer, otherwise you can't fully appreciate or taste all the nuances of Haagen-Dazs ice cream flavors," Behles says. "In hearing that from loyal users, we started the process of looking into how we can entertain them while they're waiting."
Further, the brand settled on Bach Inventions No. 14 because Häagen-Dazs is best known for its classic ice cream flavors, she says.
"There's lots of great music out there, but we wanted something that was classic and would appeal to a wide-range audience and that's how we landed on this piece," Behles says.
It also works well in a two-minute window, she says.
Häagen-Dazs has a fairly broad target of 25-to-54-year-olds in general. This app in particular targets the subset of that range with iPhones.
"I think as we learn about how people use it, the idea is we'll be able to update it and offer different experiences over time," Behles says. "Additional music would be the first place to go."
What's more, with every download of the Concerto Timer app, Häagen-Dazs is donating $5 to honey bee research at the University of California, Davis for a total donation up to $75,000.
According to the brand, honey bee colonies are dying, which poses a risk to the nation's natural food supply, including many ingredients in Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
In fact, Behles says Häagen-Dazs considers one-third of its flavors bee-dependent. That includes Vanilla Swiss Almond as almonds are dependent on pollination.
The Concerto Timer app was developed by creative agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners and digital production company JAM3.
In the U.S., the Häagen-Dazs trademark is licensed to Nestlé by General Mills.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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