Fotopedia Brings Brand Advertising To The iPad In Magazine Form (First Stop: Japan)

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As Erick wrote in September, over the course of the last year, Fotopedia has been hard at work at trying to reinvent the photo book for the iPad. To date, the so-called “Wikipedia for photos” has launched seven apps, two of which have been in partnership with National Geographic, and has racked up 5.2 million downloads since August of last year.

In September, as part of turning its attention to creating more magazine-like experiences, it launched the Fotopedia Magazine on Flipboard, which highlights five photo essays each day of the week from the company’s impressive bullpen of high-end photographers. And, today, Fotopedia is launching its eighth app and, in turn, is embarking on a new initiative that aims to leverage its photographic talent to begin creating branded experiences in magazine form, combining advertising with “premium content”.

Through a new partnership with Hakuhodo, Japan’s second largest advertising agency, Fotopedia is launching a new global brand advertising initiative that seeks to bring tourism back to Japan.

As Fotopedia CMO Christophe Daligault tells us that the company has a strong presence in the Asian market, with 39 percent of its downloads coming from Asia (the highest percentage of any region), Hakuhodo will be using this brand recognition to reach those who have an interest in traveling in Japan. The campaign is built around a new app called “Fotopedia Japan”, which includes full screen, immersive ads carefully presented in what he insists is a “non-intrusive” manner — all over Japan-focused photo essays.

Hakuhodo is looking to establish its client, the Narita International Airport, (the ninth busiest airport in the world), as a gateway to Japan, and will be using Fotopedia Magazine and the Fotopedia Japan app to allow users to explore, discover, and learn about Japan and its culture. The app includes 1,300 photos, interactive maps, and a trip builder to create lists of favorite destinations and help plan trips.

Daligault said that the idea with Fotopedia Japan — and future branded apps — is to create a campaign in which content and the ad message are one (through “native advertising”), as the team believes that this allows them to build a stronger emotional experience for its viewers. Tablets and smartphones are becoming an important place for people and brands to meet around their interests, he says, but of course the challenge is to create an experience that is both positive and relevant for the brand — and for the content itself.

The other key is that Fotopedia, in conjunction with Hakuhodo, was able to launch this in seven languages and 120 countries in just six weeks, something that would be difficult to do with traditional media.

Unfortunately, because of the earthquake and resulting tsunami that devastated Japan earlier this year, the country has since seen a significant decline in tourism. Both Fotopedia and Hakuhodo believe that it is through partnerships like this one that they will be able to remind travelers what is so incredible about Japan and hopefully spark a renewed interest in making Japan a tourist destination.

Going forward, the Fotopedia CMO said that the company is looking to launch a new, branded app every month, as well as to expand on the breadth of content available in Fotopedia magazines. The team wants to go beyond travel and begin creating apps that are more focused around news. More to come on that in the future.

The Fotopedia Japan app is free and is available on the AppStore here. You can also find the Fotopedia Magazine here.