A tasty new app: Movie Food Maker raises app-etite for concession treats

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The term “social media” is a widely cast net that includes many forms of digital interaction between people. Facebook and Twitter rank as the best-known platforms for people to use to communicate, although my teenagers would tell you that Instagram is the place to be now, and Pinterest is also popular. There’s also LinkedIn for the professional world and many other platforms for finding or giving work. The cinema industry is fully engaged in these mediums, both communicating with one another and with the consumer.

But social media also includes the wide world of applications that people use on their mobile devices or home PCs or tablets. These apps include everything from help to games. Apps can be funded with memberships, advertising or indirect marketing. What they provide to the consumer is an interactive method of communication for all the variety of interests that people can come up with. And now there is a concession app for the movie theatre industry, the Movie Food Maker.

Taste of Nature, Inc. has launched the first mobile gaming app that takes place at a movie theatre concession stand. This inventive app brings together high-profile brands in a movie theatre setting and allows users to “make” and “eat” actual movie foods. There are other apps in the marketplace that deal with food, absolutely. But this app is unique in its setting, a movie theatre. Movie Food Maker is available in all of the major app stores: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.

The app is a free download that allows players to actually make (and eat) Movie Theatre Popcorn, Movie Theatre Nachos (www.ricos.com), Movie Theatre Hot Dogs (www.nathansfamous.com), Movie Theatre Milkshakes (www.freal.com), and Movie Theatre Candies such as Care Bears Gummi Bears (www.carebears.com) and Cookie Dough Bites® (www.candyasap.com).

Players interact with these branded movie foods in an authentic concession stand environment. One of the “Mini Games” within the app is for popcorn: The Popcorn Game begins with the basics such as pouring oil, salt and popcorn kernels into a popcorn popper and going through the popping process before exploring creativity. Once the popcorn is ready, the game continues. Players can express their creativity by selecting various popcorn bags, combo meals, and silly stickers before eating the fresh popcorn right out of the popcorn bucket of their choice.

These branded products represent the companies who are a part of the Movie Food Maker app. Their goal is to have gamers interact with their brands outside of the actual movie theatre. The brands are not competitive, so they can work together to present a fun social app to engage the consumer. That is the name of the game in using social media for business: engaging the consumer. Charlie Gomez, VP of sales at Ricos Products, echoes this notion: “We felt it was a good way for us to connect with our customers, both current and potential, using a social-media vehicle. The application is a fun way for consumers to learn more about our offerings as well as raising awareness of the Ricos brand.”

The app seems to be well-received by the consumer. At the time of this writing, it had already experienced over 700,000 downloads and continues trending upward in its class of games for kids and families. Very happy with the results thus far, Scott Samet, president of Taste of Nature, says, “Kids, families and gamers have fallen in love with Movie Food Maker. It’s amazing to see such a wide demographic playing this app all over the world!” If you want to see how the app works, check out this YouTube video or this Facebook page.

The nature of social media allows the wall between consumer and business to blur from just the momentary interaction that occurs at the time of an event. So, instead of being able to reach the consumer only when he or she comes into the theatre for two or three hours, businesses can use social media to interact all week long through chat rooms, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook messaging and, yes, game apps. My own generation is embracing social media, and we use it to stay connected or connect with new people. But my daughters’ generation uses it as a primary form of communication. That is a big difference. It is this difference that drives the need for us to not only engage in social media, but to own it, as the kids say.

E-mail your comments to anitaw@reactornet.com.