Turning The Smurfs into gold without using magic

The Smurfs franchise has been retooled into a cross-media marketing masterpiece that Steve Dryall says represents the future of app marketing.

Combining the interactivity of an app with the elements of additional media into an integrated user experience is a sure way to enhance the overall user experience. A better overall experience will translate into more users. This is the new standard in using the Internet not only for promoting media but also for generating additional profits as a result. If you want to create a cross-media user experience that can result in revenue from multiple streams, the modern day incarnation of The Smurfs is the model to follow.

Create an experience

If you can create an experience in your app that parallels your other media, users will feel like they are part of the world they are watching. How can you engage your users so they relate to your media?

Integrate your media and app

You will want to expose your product as part of your user experience. If you create a more personal relationship with your users, they will be more naturally inclined to buy. The Smurfs app is all about selling Smurfberries, and they are part of the story in the movie and in the app. How can your media include your product as part of the user experience?

Cross media = Cross marketing

Combining media types and embedding advertising are essential ways to generate additional interest. Your app should have additional forms of media that can be used in different places for different purposes. Video, audio, photo galleries, and games are typical examples of additional media used to support apps. The Smurfs movie was promoted through in-app exposure, and in-app upgrades were exposed in the movie. How can you promote your media through your apps and vice-versa?

Timing is everything

Determining the launch order of your app, upgrades, and media is vital to the success of your campaign. Announcing the release of one product using another product is a way to reap the marketing rewards of both and expand your base of users further. The Smurfs app was released before the movie and then helped promote the movie. What media, products, or services can you offer through your apps and how?

Be seen

Because you are working with multiple media types, you will need to advertise and promote in different places using different methods. Once your advertising starts getting noticed, you will substantially benefit from cross-media marketing. The Smurfs were strategically advertised in many places; where do you need to advertise to get your products into the hands of buyers?


The Smurfs app and movie represent a new generation of cross-media consumer experience resulting in multiple revenue streams that contribute to each other. If you use these methods, I believe you will be well on your way to increasing your exposure and your bottom line. Any app developer should take notes from the marketing of The Smurfs and then start harvesting some Smurfy sales.

By Steve Dryall

Steve is an independent technology and content developer. His experience spans decades and covers areas including rich-media production, software development, and education. Steve has contributed to the digital realm in many ways and has no plans on ...