Dye an Egg The Martha Way…With Your iPhone

By Steve Smith

The mobile app ecosystem gives magazines a great new opportunity to extend their brands into creative one-off projects that are at once whimsical and utilitarian. Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Trivia game (complete with Graydon Cater bobble-head doll) comes to mind. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has gotten in the habit of releasing seasonal apps that resemble interactive versions of special issue bookazines. For the holidays, MSLO’s cookie app for iPad was a very big hit. The more modest, but equally well designed Egg Dyeing 101 for iPhone and iPod Touch is a welcome app that both inspires and instructs.

The app is composed of 101 dyed egg images that also pop up detailed instructions. The eggs can be perused one by one or seen categorized by the way they were crafted (masking with tape, rubber bands, stencils, etc.). The images are luscious. MSLO and creative director Gael Towey successfully bring the brand’s signature subtle palette and hi-res detail to this project. The image gallery is just fun and rewarding to browse.

The instructions for crafting the eggs could stand with more illustration, we think. Speaking as a ham-handed egg dyer who desperately needs a true “101” course, more videos would have been appreciated and some step by step images of technique would have been more helpful than the single image and prose walkthrough used in most cases. We found only a few videos altogether, and hoped for more.

But at 99-cents, it is hard to argue with the value of Egg Dyeing 101 from Martha Stewart Living. There is even a Sources section that pushes the user to online suppliers. The app is underwritten by sponsor McCormick. But to MSLO’s credit the sponsor’s presence is low-key, with logos appearing at the bottom of instructions and e-commerce links appearing in the Sources section. Some paid apps that contain intrusive advertising have suffered user-reviewer wrath in the app store. Whatever publishers may think about the hybrid model, many mobile app buyers appear to resent overt ad presence in something they paid to own. It will be interesting to see if McCormick’s more subdued sponsorship proves less provocative with users.