How An iPhone App Killed Christmas – Santa Alarm Prank Takes It Too Far

By on Dec 23, 2010 at 2:38 am

Beloit, Wisconsin – Just over one week before Christmas, Jackson Klein, a first-time iPhone app developer, launched his first app in the iTunes App Store. At that point, the recent college graduate could not have known the comic or painful impact that the mobile software would have on thousands of Christmas celebrations or the substantial revenue that it would generate. At $.99 in the App Store, the app received over 14,000 purchases in its first 5 days and has gathered a cult-like following in social media channels and YouTube – including the now viral: “Santa Alarm app destroys family’s Christmas tree and gifts”.

All of this, despite the very simple concept behind the app – it is a motion-activated Christmas stocking alarm, with alarm sounds ranging from a car alarm to a farting sequence and a feature that allows users to record an MP3 of their victim’s reaction to the prank and send it to family by email. The continuing economic hardships in the country have hit recent college graduates particularly hard and it may take exactly this type of creativity and industriousness by our country’s youth to begin to turn that reality around.

Interviews with the developer have shown that this “beginners’ luck” may not have been a total surprise. Blog interviews have revealed that he, like many amateur app developers was inspired to try his hand in the field by some of the famous quirky success stories in the App Store, such as iFart, another simple app that grossed over $40,000 in less than 1 week. However, Santa Alarm’s success started where thousands of others failed.

“Looking at many of the successes and failures in the App Store, it seemed really obvious that common key characteristic was a well designed and executed marketing plan” said Jackson. “With more than 150,000 apps in iTunes, you’re not about to just get ‘noticed’ anymore.”

Jackson used blogs and YouTube to research marketing strategy, then designed his own marketing plan that covered everything from encouraging web fans to upload home videos of the app being used during early Christmas celebrations to recruiting popular YouTube personalities to publish video reviews. Not surprisingly, this early publicity was able to generate a buzz, which began to snowball, like so many things do on the net. With only one day until Christmas, we will just have keep an eye on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to see how this “Christmas surprise” pans out for the young entrepreneur.

Santa Alarm 1.0
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Located in Beloit, Wisconsin, Jackson Klein is a amateur app developer and recent college grad. Santa Alarm is his first app and was developed independently. Copyright (C) 2010 Jackson Klein. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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