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Nestlé Purina Pet Care Co. sticks with apps for engagement

Purina has rolled out its seventh mobile application for its Friskies cat brand that aims to connect with consumers and their pets via gaming.

The Friskies Happy Wings app is formatted specifically for Apple?s iPad and Android tablets. The app is set up with a series of challenges that encourage cats to hit as many objects as possible as they fly across the screen.

?All of our games are inspired by things that pique that amazing curiosity unique to cats and their spirit of imagination and discovery,? said Alison Coburn, assistant brand manager for Friskies, St. Louis.

?In this case, Happy Wings welcomes cats to an electronic garden full of flittering critters, including a charming hummingbird, an irresistible moth and a life-size little dragonfly, bringing the richness and fun of the great outdoors inside,? she said.

?When the cat captures a certain number of creatures, the setting changes and the game becomes more challenging with quicker patterns and multiple creatures appearing on screen simultaneously.?

Tablet interaction
The Friskies game incorporates birds, moths and dragonflies, which are all aimed at attracting a cat?s attention. As more objects are hit, games become more challenging.

At the end of the game, consumers can share their score to Twitter.

Although the app is simple, it is effective in its goal of serving as an engagement tool between cat owners and their pets.

Purina is also inviting up to 75 game developers to improve the app with a hackathon event that will take place March 23 ? 24 at the Amplify start-up campus in Venice, CA.

Teams of five will work to create compelling content for the app. The winning team will receive $15,000, the runner-up team will be awarded $3,000 and the third place winner will get $2,000.

Mobile past
Apps play a big role for Purina.

Most recently, the company rolled out a photo sharing app that lets consumers place a cut-out of their face onto a cat. Content can then be shared to friends and family (see story).

Additionally, the company offers other smartphone and tablet games such as that are meant to help connect cat owners to their pets.

For example, an iPad app and tablet site called Tasty Treasures Hunt encourages pet owners to play a mobile game together to hit as many pieces as possible in a set period of time.

Consumers can visit http://www.gamesforcats.com/ to see the complete list of mobile experiences that Friskies offers.

?We develop games for cats for tablet and mobile for a few reasons,? Ms. Coburn said.

?Friskies celebrates providing opportunities for cats and their owners to play together,? she said. ?And because of their vivid imaginations, cats can make just about anything into a toy - including tablet and mobile devices.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York