Two years ago, staff members Carl Zornes, Jeremiah Bratton and myself developed GPB’s first app for the Apple iPhone and iPad, GPB Sports: Football. After a blisteringly hot week at Banning Mills for the Big Nerd Ranch development classes, we had just enough knowledge to build our first app in six weeks. We decided that high school football would be a good place to start since we already had a massive amount of news, blogs, scores, standings and other data.
Today the app has evolved and grown to add geographic lookup capabilities, the ability to watch the games right from your phone, and monitor relevant twitter conversation. It also has a sportier updated look. We are still amazed at the popularity even today—the app regularly shows up in the top 100 free sports apps in the Apple iTunes App Store.
But when we launched it, we wondered if people would even know that it existed, so we decided we needed a short promo that could play during our Friday night football games as filler to get the word out. What we didn’t have was any budget to create it! For reasons difficult to explain, I just happened to have access to a gorilla suit. No budget + a gorilla suit—now what?
Well, take a look:
The premise of the commercial was, “bored commuters waiting for a bus don’t notice gorilla in painter’s overalls (or anyone else) until the gorilla pulls out his phone and starts looking at the app.”
OK, so it’s not typical public broadcasting fare, but it’s still one of my favorite things we’ve ever done as a team. And as you might imagine, there were a lot of confused commuters driving down Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta that day.
If you haven’t downloaded the sports app yet, be sure to download it today. And Carl and Jeremiah would want me to say again that the screens you see on the iPhone in the commercial are much prettier now.