Why RDAs (Finally) Are the Next Killer App
Rich desktop applications, or RDAs, have been around for years, but only recently have the obstacles to their adoption been addressed, noted Tom Goosmann, chief creative officer of New York City interactive marketing agency True North Inc., during his luncheon keynote address, “Magic on Your Desktop,” during the DM Days New York Conference & Expo held two weeks ago.
First, RDAs are bits of code that get downloaded by people and then run on their desktops. Their main benefit to both the end user and the marketer, he explained, is that they support active, two-way communication but do not require an Internet connection to run the application; that’s only needed for updating content or linking back to the marketer—which you definitely want to do.
For example, True North created an RDA for Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment and its Platinum DVD release of “Peter Pan.” Fans could download the application from banner ad promotions and the Disney Web site. Because Tinkerbell is a very popular character in the movie, she became a companion to consumers’ cursors via the RDA; wherever they pointed their cursors, she tagged along. (See for yourself at http://portfolio.truenorthinc.com/dp2/BVHE_presentation_local_wave_2/Peter_Pan_Desktop_App/index.htm) She also connected consumers to updated content via a window on the desktop; features included a trailer, special DVD features and release date reminders. More than 180,000 people downloaded this RDA, results that won Disney and True North a 2007 ECHO Award from the Direct Marketing Association.
So, what’s paving the way for RDAs? Goosmann said these apps have grown in popularity now that people have gotten more comfortable with Web 2.0 technologies, such as MySpace, Facebook, widgets and gadgets. Plus, many people have broadband service to support their rich media habits. And with Adobe’s February 2008 launch of AIR, a cross-platform program that makes it easier and less scary for people to install RDAs on their computers, the last barriers to widespread use of these apps have fallen.