City Sonic rocks out on mobile

The series of short films about Toronto's favourite musicians is available via a new app that allows users to find venues and film locations with mobile GPS, and unlock bonus material when they arrive on site. Sponsorship opps are available.

Toronto’s City Sonic short film series is not exclusively for the couch-and-popcorn crowd – all the films in the series are mobile and online-only. Developed by Toronto-based White Pine Pictures and Kensington Communications, City Sonic videos are about the city’s greatest music landmarks and the experiences of the local artists who have made their careers playing them.

The mobile app, launched last week, is designed to guide viewers with GPS-activated mobile phones, to the key locations in the films. Users can also use the GPS to unlock exclusive content like rare archival video and live performances by local musicians Geddy Lee (Rush), Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene) and Serena Ryder. The content can be automatically unlocked by the GPS, activated when a person walks past the music spots that are featured in the films. The City Sonic app also has quizzes and game-based challenges about the artists and locations.

White Pine Pictures is open to sponsorships of the app, says Heather Phenix, spokesperson for the prodco, adding that it is ideal for brands or retailers that want to target consumers based on location. Last fall, Nokia used Sonic TV content to debut its updated Maps software, she says, featuring the short films for a guided tour of specific locations in Toronto.

‘Ideally, additional corporate sponsors could offer some sort of direct benefit to the consumer – for example, incentives like getting 25% off on all music at Steve’s if you come in with this ad on your phone now,’ says Phenix.

There are 20 videos available for viewing, and producers are working on developing a similar series for Vancouver and Montreal. The film series is currently being promoted at street level, with iPhone-shaped signs at all 20 Toronto locations displaying information about how to get additional bonus content, says Phenix. The production company has also reached out to viewers through social media channels, leveraging connections with local artist teams, directors and media.