Wednesday, February 11, 2015

If you’ve ever been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, then you know it can be a little difficult to navigate. Every establishment has live music playing, there are parties galore, and then there are the parades. How is a first-time visitor to the Big Easy supposed to negotiate the madness and get in on the parades?

Well, the city itself called upon some of the local advertising agencies and businesses for help. With the help of Tabasco, Zatarain’s, WWL-TV and Zehnder Communications, New Orleans has created the Mardi Gras Parade Tracker as a part of their popular Experience Mardi Gras app. The app has been used not only to provide information about local events for visitors, but residents of New Orleans are prolific users of the app as well.

The Experience Mardi Gras app features all of the start times and schedules of every parade, from the Krewe of Muses on March 3rd to the Krewe of Zulu on Fat Tuesday, March 8th. The app also includes parade video and interviews courtesy of WWL-TV, video with Mardi Gras Legends like Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, and instantaneous listings of live music and other local events. The app has it all for anyone looking to party in New Orleans.

Best of all, the app incorporates real-time parade routes on Google Maps, so users can easily find the best viewing times and places. The director of digital media for WWL-TV states: “We designed this app to be the ultimate tool for Mardi Gras. Whether you’re a die-hard local, out-of-towner, traveling by yourself or with a group, this app keeps all the details updated and in one place.”

The success of this app has proven that when there are massive public events, mobile can be an enormous asset. And this includes not just apps, but also SMS; text marketing is an inexpensive way to reach large audiences quickly and effectively. Using cross-promotional mobile tools like social media and apps, a mobile marketer can initially get the word out using SMS, and then provide further detail with video and content through other media.

The Mardi Gras Parade tracker is a step in the right direction, helping users find everything they need in one place, where information is constantly updated. The next step is to incorporate SMS text messaging into the promotion of the app in order to truly augment public awareness.