With 1.8 million followers on Instagram, Marnie, the 13-year-old Shih Tzu, has taken the Internet by storm. And, like a true celebrity does these days, she has launched an app.
At first tap,“Marnie Pro” is adorable. You get to place the dog, in poses from her Instagram posts, into your personal pictures. Obviously that’s fun and there’s definitely a quick appeal to imagining Marnie being a part of your life.
After 10 minutes though, my phone was filled with fake pictures of Marnie and me, and the app had all but entirely lost its appeal. Granted, I only spent 99 cents on it, but now I have an app, not to mention the space-hogging photos it produced, for which I have virtually no use.
Marnie isn’t alone in this venture – tons of A-list celebrities, from movie stars to musicians are lending their name, voices and faces to Appland. Most, if not all the apps are useless and they’re barely “fun” but that’s not affecting the supply.
Tom Hanks, for example, has an iPad app that mimics a typewriter called “Hanx Writer.” At one point it was the top-downloaded free app in the iTunes store, despite the fact that its only functionality was being a typewriter. It had the Hanks seal of approval, though, so mobs of Forrest Gump-thumping iPad users had to have it.
William Shatner also has a mobile app, called “Shatoetry,” in which users can create poetry in Magnetic Poetry style and then hear them read in Shatner’s voice. Paying 99 cents for this luxury may seem asinine to some, but to William Shatner fans, it’s a dream come true.
And Shatoetry kind of sums up the entire genre: these apps are niche, only appealing to a small number of people that really “care” about the celebrities and have a 24 hour shelf-life, if that. Ultimately “celebrity apps”, despite their “popularity” are undoubtedly a waste of money, and a waste of virtual space in app stores.
The only celebrity app to really make a relevant mark and hit what could be considered the mainstream was Kim Kardashian Hollywood, a game in which a virtual version of Kardashian guides the user to A-list stardom. It was all the rage in the summer of 2014, but in the end, that’s as long as it lasted, proving that even the most popular celebrity apps are nothing but a fad.
I downloaded “Marnie Pro” because, like millions of others, I follow Marnie on Instagram and it seemed like a fun idea at the time. Now that I’m done with it, it just takes up space on my phone, and I’m stuck feeling bad about deleting it because it actually cost me money.
So if you ever find yourself debating whether or not to buy your favorite celebrity’s app –in all likelihood, he or she will come out with one – my advice is simple: don’t do it/ You’ll be over it in ten minutes and even with the tiny price tag, you’ll have buyer’s remorse. For 99 cents, candy is a much better fix.
That being said, when some companies are making half a billion dollars a year selling the celebrity apps, being an investor in the space rather than a user may not be the worst idea in the world…
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Anthony Tse says
Celebrity apps, LOL. Yea, it is all about the almighty dollar and they are making BIG bucks. Especially when the apps get features on the TV, radio and online by mainstream websites.
Terry Clemente says
And it makes money I am sure. Apps like this are cheap to code and keep up to date, plus every single 8 year old with a smartphone will have it downloaded before their parents can see the credit card statement.
Alejandro Robinson says
LOL, this is good. At just 99 cents people are probable sending this guys kids through college! Humans are just simple creatures.
Shannon Ward says
I have an issue with developers that make you pay for an apps this and do not seem to be around to support them. It is sad since many of these types can be helpful to some degree, but they are tossed aside before of you can really use them the way they were intended.
Elise Hewett says
LOL. This one would have to be a bad purchase for me as well. For just 99 cents I can waste some time with this little guy? That is cheap entertainment, even though it might not last more than a week.
Keith Arevalo says
99 cents is way to easy to spend these days. Most people wouldn’t even think two times about it before hitting the BUY button. That is a major part of the success for those apps. If it is garbage or gets old, you just toss it away faster than the money you wasted at the bar last weekend.
Virginia Rose says
THAT is exactly it, the money is nothing when you think about what you spend on coffee. The bad thing for developers is that they must come up with apps all the time once these die off due to boredom.