Victoria's Secret PINK has taken its app to the next level by partnering with Frankly, a private messaging service. Now, VS PINK fans—also known as #PINKNATION members—can send private in-app chats to one another. The feature will also enable PINK app users to chat live with Victoria's Secret supermodels and have all-access to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show when it airs on December 9th.
The partnership marks the start of Frankly's foray into making its chat technology available to other app developers through its newly launched customizable Chat SDK platform.
“Gossip with your best friends without getting caught!” is Frankly's brand motto, which pairs well with how the PINK line is “dedicated to the independent and inspired collegiate girl…designed to appeal to the spirit, humor and optimism of the girl who wears, lives and loves PINK.”
Apps are increasingly jockeying with traditional social media platforms like Facebook and are emerging as the major traffic drivers of today, thanks to a younger generation that lives and breathes on mobile.
The current crop of messaging apps is dominated by WhatsApp, acquired by Facebook for $19m last February. They broke the mold on Twitter and Facebook’s traditional one-to-many model, and replaced it with one-to-one communication.
WhatsApp's payoffs for brands can be substantial. For example, after BuzzFeed integrated WhatsApp in iOS in October, its shares have doubled, BuzzFeed VP of business development Ashley McCollum said in an extensive article in NeimanLab.
“Every time we looked at WhatsApp’s numbers, it blew us away,” said BuzzFeed president Jon Steinberg. “We knew last April this was a huge social network and have become increasingly obsessed with it.”
A case study on the Spanish soccer club Valencia by Nieman further revealed WhatsApp's global potential, as it was generating more than two-thirds of the team's website visits, more than any other social platform. Nieman cautions that the data is susceptible to national context, though. “As of earlier this year, 65 percent of Spain’s mobile Internet users were using WhatsApp; the equivalent number in the United States was just 8 percent.”
If these numbers are any indication, the US messaging market is still largely untapped—which is where Frankly comes in. With over 1.5 million downloads to date and venture funding of nearly $22 million, it is also a portfolio company of Stanford University's StartX incubator program.
At the Frankly launch, Stanford President John Hennessy said, “We train and house these creative minds, and it is only fitting that we invest in their future success."
John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers regularly visits the Stanford campus to scout for ideas, calling it “the germplasm for innovation." "I can’t imagine Silicon Valley without Stanford University," Doerr said.
Though PINK and the Victoria's Secret brand evoke the more revealing side of intimacy, their partnership with Frankly is emblematic of at least one value that's sacred to the next generation: privacy.
The app promises, “Some things are best kept between friends. Whether you send a private text, photo, or video—we make sure that what happens between friends, stays between friends.”
Add sexy models and smart tech and it’s a perfect brand elixir for the times.
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