So who exactly is Brian Wong? Brian is the wunderkind founder of a new company poised to reinvent mobile advertising: Kiip. After pitching his concept for Kiip to True Ventures, Brian, at the age of 19, received $200,000, making him the youngest entrepreneur to raise venture capital, according to Techcrunch and the Wall Street Journal. Since then, Kiip has raised over $4.4 million and earned a spot as one of Forbes’ “4 Hot Online Ad Companies to Put on Your Watch List.” For his part, Brian has been awarded Mashable’s “Top 5 Young Entrepreneurs to Watch,” Canada’s “Top 20 Under 20,” and Advertising Age’s “Creativity 50.”
So why all of the hype around Brian and his startup Kiip? Kiip enables brands to connect redeemable rewards with achievement moments in mobile games, leveraging the power of emotional advertising. Hiding which games it collaborates with, Kiip ensures that mobile users serendipitously come across branded discounts or trials when they clear a hard level or achieve a high score, for example. Some of Kiip’s clients that provide the rewards include Sony Dash, Sephora, Dr. Pepper, popchips, Homerun.com, Vitamin Water, 1-800-Flowers, GNC, and Carl’s Jr. When a user redeems a brand’s reward, the client pays Kiip anywhere from $0.25 to $3. Using games’ demographic information, Kiip tailors the rewards to the gamers most likely to come across them. Nevertheless, if users receive rewards that they don’t want, they have the option to gift them. As Kiip’s software has been slowly rolled out in the last few months, early findings indicate that gamers are redeeming rewards more than half the time.
Traditional mobile advertising often neglects to capitalize on the very personal nature of cell phones. Instead, advertisers create banner ads that are both distracting and invasive. In trying so desperately to grab mobile users’ attention, these ads end up doing the exact opposite, driving users to fervently ignore them. Brian and the brains behind Kiip understood this and sought to create a software technology that increases both attention and value. By offering value in the form of tangible rewards, brands can, as Brian said, “get attention but also give a good first impression.” Kiip rewards also appear during the natural pauses in a game when, for example, a user moves on to a new level, and thus don’t try to distract gamers from the gaming experience. In sending awards after a gaming milestone, brands can associate themselves with the positive affective responses that come with such achievements. Check out the video below for more information on Kiip. And be sure to keep a watchful eye on Kiip’s development. We certainly will.