Filipino App Hoy!
Taking selfies is deeply embedded in the modern Filipino culture. The people of the Philippines have a collective obsession of capturing photos of themselves at restaurants, malls, parks, and even at their own homes regardless of the significance of the activity or event. Nowhere in the world can you see the same degree of vanity.
This fact is established by TIME after naming Philippine cities as three of the top ten selfie capitals in the world. Makati, the financial center of Metro Manila, topped this list along with Pasig. Cebu City in the central part of the country placed ninth.
With this widespread camera fixation among Filipinos, young entrepreneur Seph Mayol thought this is one to take advantage of. He has launched a mobile social media app called Hoy! along with his business partner Royce Albert Dy, a software engineer.
Thanks to the movie Transformers: Age of Extinction, this idea grew into fruition. In the movie, Mayol noticed the massive product placement. He thought that only big corporations are gaining from that type of promotion, so his business-mindedness took to the idea of giving the consumers a cut.
“The problem is, it breaks one way,” Mayol said. “The brands benefit, but the users aren’t getting anything.”
Through the selfie phenomenon, consumers unconsciously advertise the brands they patronize. It is mostly for sharing on social media, nothing more.
Hoy! gives these consumers more than just the virtual likes. It serves as a platform for the consumers to earn rewards while they participate in different brands’ promotional campaigns. So far, the app is nested by a few Filipino artists and YouTube personalities, who are among the about 14,000 users aiming for the rewards.
Brands participating in the app are not ones to underestimate. To add to the local companies, there are Air Asia, Burger King, Giordano, Roxy, and Quicksilver. The consumers get to choose which campaigns they want to promote and follow the guidelines to receive their rewards.
Photos to be posted at Hoy! need to be in full color and without the stickers or overdone filters.
After that, a consumer can only be eligible for the prizes if he or she gains the minimum number of likes for each picture. The app will verify if the likes are unique or do not come from a generator, and if the user did not acquire the likes from multiple accounts.
Once Hoy! sees that the photo meets the standards, the consumer can already receive the prizes. All he or she has to do is present the digital stamp Hoy! will give upon approval of the photo and get it scanned at the corresponding physical store location.
Both Mayol and Dy agreed on this system to have the consumers walk to the stores while giving them the pleasure of taking selfies. Mayol said that the ability to bring people into the brick and mortars is a key selling point for the brands that run promotions on Hoy!.
“That’s what they love about Hoy!,” he said. “If they just want to create brand awareness, they could just have people take a selfie,” they said.
The duo chose tangible prizes instead of coupons or discount codes to provide an immediate value to the consumers.
For example, Burger King had a campaign to popularize one of their branch murals. Consumers who joined the campaign only had to take selfies with the artwork and post it to Hoy!. Because the app allows connecting with Facebook, the users had maximized getting likes from their friends in the social network. Their reward for getting at least 45 legit likes? A free Whopper meal.
Consumers can choose from 42 partner brands which offer 83 rewards campaigns. For this year, it’s all free; but the startup plans to charge on a performance basis come 2017.
The vision of Mayol and Dy is to put the country on the startup map with their signature app. So far, there’s no tech company which has been noticed globally despite the fact that Philippines is among the most active social media users in the world. Mayol hopes that Hoy! could be that app.