Claire Beale On Advertising: So which are the best iPhone apps around?

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The Independent Online

In just 12 months, Apple's iPhone App Store has created a new industry that has generated billions of pounds of revenue, provided employment to thousands, and given marketers a powerful new tool in their armoury. There are now 65,000 apps serving more than 45 million iPhone users in 77 countries, with over one billion apps having been downloaded in the last year. Not the sort of opportunity that smart advertisers would pass up, and some of the best iPhone apps have come from the commercial sector – app-vertising. Last year, the global mobile ad market was worth $700m. Fuelled by the growth in commercial apps, expect this to top $7.2bn by 2012. Here is my pick of the 10 best advertising apps from around the world over the past year.

Audi A4 Driving Challenge

Players test drive their A4 round challenging courses and the iPhone's accelerometer, which detects movement, tests your hand/eye co-ordination.

Barclaycard Waterslide Extreme

The Waterslide Extreme game, by Dare, has just become the number one free iPhone app in 57 countries, and the most popular free ad game since the app store launched. Tilt the phone to navigate a person down a giant shute, tackling obstacles as you go.

Carling iPint

Around 75 per cent of iPhone users are men, so it's not surprising that beer brands have been quick to ride the app wagon. Carling was one of the first and one of the best, with its award-winning iPint from Beattie McGuinness Bungay. Slide a pint of Carling along a bar, navigating other glasses on the way, and drain it at the end.

Cobra beer iBanter

Cobra's media channel, iBanter, created by Poke, plays video of some rising comedy stars telling their best gags, except you only see their lips. Hold the iPhone to your own mouth and it looks like you're telling the jokes yourself.

Gillette uArt

Upload an image of yourself to your iPhone, add some extravagant facial hair and then use your Gillette fusion razor (aka your finger) to give yourself a decorative shave. Created by BBDO/AIM Proximity.

Grolsch Walk the Line

More useful than fun, but this multi-layered app by Marvellous checks whether you've had one too many beers by taking the Walk the Line test. The iPhone will rate your ability. If you pass, you get an invitation to Grolsch bars at music festivals.

Levi's Shakedown 2 Get Down

In this app. created by Razorfish, shake the iPhone to see freestyle dance expressionist Dufon, wearing a pair of Dockers, making his moves.

Mini Openness

This app, by Profero, uses the phone's GPS navigation system to find out where you are and then suggests some weird and wonderful things to do nearby. Grilled zebra for lunch, anyone?

New York Subway Nearest Tube

This claims to be the first augmented reality iPhone app and is designed to make it easier to use the subway. It uses the inbuilt GPS+Compass of the 3GS iPhone. Hold it in front of you and it will literally point the way to the nearest subway entrance.

Pizza Hut

Create the perfect pizza on your iPhone, then order it straight from the app, which is by IMc2. As if that wasn't a good enough, Pizza Hut also offers you some games to play whilst you're waiting for your deep pan to arrive.


Virgin Media

(Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R)

They used to say the ads were better than the programmes. They don't say it any more. The programmes don't seem as good, and nor do the ads. But Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R's new ad for Virgin Media is so good you wonder whether Virgin's programmes can live up to the promise. Directed by Ringan Ledwidge, who is one of the best, the commercial follows a girl as she wonders around a studio lot, stumbling on tableaux of film. There are tribal Aztecs gathering round a campfire, cop cars giving chase, giants and aliens. The effects are superb and, though it's a triumph of craftsmanship over charm, it's an entertaining ad.