"We believe this will define a generation," explains Justin Cooke as he talks to The Drum about his newly launched social media network, Tunepics, an app that allows its users to enjoy a multisensory, combining images with music to trigger an emotional response.
The app, which goes live today (Thursday 22 May) has been designed by the former Top Shop CMO, who left his role last year to set up Innovate7 under a shroud of mystery as to what he was aiming to achieve. Tunepics is the first work publicly released by the company.
AKQA was entrusted with the development and realisation of the app.
"There is an opportunity in the social media landscape to create a new product based on a number of factors. If you look at how Snapchat has come in and changed the bahaviour patterns, social media habits have changed," he began to explain to The Drum while demonstrating the functions of the app
"I love emotions and the senses and bringing things to life which can be magical. What we have tried to do is create a social network which caters for all of those moments in your life that you can't quite express and for some people just writing what they want is enough, for others taking pictures is enough and for some people they need a song to tell the story or a colour to share how they feel. Tunepics will give them the chance to do all of those things," he adds.
In order to engage with the senses, the app will let its users feature a song with every image they share in order to stir memories that provoke an emotional response. This will be heightened through the addition of an 'Emotion Wheel' that enables users to add a colour to each picture they post, representative of how they feel as a result.
The Emotion Wheel features 16 different colours, each relating to a different emotion, such as heart broken (deep red), jealousy (green) and hot (orange).
Celebrities and companies are also set to endorse the app as founding members, including such names as Airbnb, AllSaints, Asos, Dazed, Jamie Oliver, Kate Bosworth, Michael Polish, Paul Smith, Tracy Anderson and will.i.am.
Cooke tells The Drum that he has no plans to introduce advertising to the platform initially as he doesn't want to "clutter" the user experience, nor does he plan to sell user's data. The commercial revenue of the app will be generated through its membership with the affiliate iTunes programme, giving it access to over 35 million songs, with each song generating a 30-second song choice preview inspired and linked to the uploaded image. The company will receive a slice of any full purchases made as a result of that suggestion through iTunes.
That partnership with Apple will see the app promoted on the front page of iTunes, the exact place an app needs to succeed in generating downloads, while some online advertising activity will also be used to generate awareness and downloads, Cooke says.
"My ambition has been to build this through Apple as they make the most beautiful devices and they make thinks look stunning. It's all about beautiful, intuitive design. The experience is almost like the user being in their own private concert or film where they have created all of these beautiful moments around their lives. In a way, you almost don't need anything else as the user is in their own little bubble. For me it's about creating something magical. The reason why Apple like it is because it is intuitive and instinctive, which is what their business is based on."
In testing, Cooke claims that the musical experience has meant that people have been immersed in the app for hours at a time.
"It will take time and we will build it slowly, but we think we have created really beautiful iconography which is really powerful. We have specifically designed it so that when you see it on your phone, you want to open it every day."
He continues to claim that the app will be disruptive to both social media and advertising.
"It's going to be a triumph of British design. I am so proud of it and there is so much to come" Cooke promises, before revealing plans to involve mobile device functions that sees his director of innovation working on ideas that could involve the detection of the warmth of someone's finger or the use of the camera to detect mood states.
"We think there are some really beautiful things to come, this is just the start," he concludes.