Carling iPint: A little idea with big implications

Principal Authors: David Bain and Andrew Wright – BMB

Contributing Authors: Jonathan Lawton and Nick Stewart – BMB


This paper is an account of a cultural phenomenon. Carling iPint has had over 2 million UK downloads (and counting) since launch in July 2008. It is still averaging over 128,000 downloads per month in the 6 month period to February 2010 and it remains the number 1 free download from the App Store in the UK 20 months after its launch.

Carling iPint is the first and most successful free branded application on the iPhone in the UK. For a modest production budget of £25,000, it has reached a broadcast sized audience of British consumers and has delivered equivalent digital media value of over £5,000,000 or a return of £201 for every £1 invested thus far. The payback argument, though startling in the size of return, is nevertheless an explicitly inadequate estimation of the idea’s true value. The paper therefore explores some of the difficulties of accurately estimating the ROMI of the best new ideas in less measurable and tested channels. It also makes the case for a broader conception of payback beyond sales response and outlines an effective piece of communication whose objectives were more about cultural than commercial return.