If you haven’t heard of “Flappy Birds,” yet, you will soon.
That’s because its creator has employed a marketing strategy seemingly unlike any other. According to Forbes magazine, the popular mobile app’s creator, Dong Nguyen, announced that he would be removing the game from both iPhone and Android markets because he, “couldn’t take,” the hype the fast-growing app has gotten in the last few weeks.
His strategy is simple enough: people want what they can’t have. But does it amount to what Forbes is calling the, “most genius act of marketing in the history of the app market”?
The author compares the bold move to Disney’s “vault” strategy. Disney regularly removes films from the market and puts them away in the “Disney Vault,” to artificially drive up sales by making consumers frantically run to stores before the product goes off the market. Whether or not that’s what Nguyen is trying to do with Flappy Birds remains to be seen, but according to the author, reviews of the game in mobile stores jumped from roughly 75,000 to 146,000 almost overnight. The article goes on to say that Nguyen attracted an additional 60,000 twitter followers in the 24 hours following his announcement.
If taking a product this popular off the shelf seems counter-intuitive to you, you’re not alone. But, as the author carefully points out, a few things are important to consider. First, the game isn’t actually off the market yet, which is extremely significant to realize. Consumers can still download the game as of right now, and whether or not Nguyen truly intends to remove it remains to be seen.
Second, the author continues, is that even if he does remove the app, it will still be available to those who have already downloaded it, and Nguyen will still receive ad revenue from those downloads.
What do you think? Was this a genius marketing ploy, or simply a young developer looking to avoid too bright a spotlight?
Update: According to Forbes, Nguyen has officially taken the app off the market.