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Last week saw the release of a new app featuring Lil BUB, one of the world’s most famous cats. Lil BUB fans: get excited, because the the idea originated right here in St Louis.
Local sound design firm Hugmonster Sound conceived the idea of an app to sell ringtones of the famous cat, and after forming a partnership with Lil BUB, developed the app from the ground up. The Lil BUB’s Ringtones! App hasjust released for both Android and iOS, with a portion of proceeds from sales going to help special needs animals.
Ringtones were once a wildly popular way for customers to personalize their phones, but as phone technology has advanced, the process to change the ringtone has also become more complicated, leading to a limited and iPhone-centric market for tones. Enter local sound engineer and Hugmonster Sound founder Adam Frick, who saw an opportunity after developing a listening site and series of ringtones for Forest Park Forever, the non-profit that manages St Louis’ Forest Park.
“We see a real opportunity for both for-profit brands and non-profits to make a better use of sound to engage their customers and supporters,” says Frick. “In particular, people’s use of their phones as a primary communication device is skyrocketing, and there are hundreds of cases and other trappings for your phone, not to mention the relative ease of changing the images on your phone’s screen to customize it. But we didn’t see anyone else really driving after the ringtone market to allow people to engage with the brands and non-profits they love by customizing their phone’s sounds.”
Think Lil BUB is the cat’s meow? You’re not alone. In July of 2011, she was discovered as the runt of a healthy feral litter in a tool shed in rural Indiana at only a few weeks old. She was taken in as a rescue when it was clear that she would require special care. Since then, BUB has become one of the most famous cats on the planet. She is a published author, a talk show host, the star of an award winning documentary, and she created Lil BUB’s Big FUND for the ASPCA (the first national fund for special needs pets), and has helped raise over $300,000 for animals in need.
You can now visit the iTunes App store or the Google Play App Store, and BUB-ify your phone with 10 official, unique tones from the famous cat.
“People who love BUB really love BUB,” says Frick, who launched Hugmonster Sound in late 2014. “But we’ve also found that people who have no familiarity with her still loved the sounds she makes, and are enjoying her squonking at them when someone calls.
Since its founding, Hugmonster Sound has worked with local brands like The National Blues Museum, Forest Park Forever, Circus Flora, The Magic House, Lamplight Films, Once Films and Strange Folk Festival, focusing on delivering unique uses of sound for web, mobile, interactive apps and on-site installations.
“Our goal at Hugmonster Sound is to keep innovating,” says Frick, “so while we’ll release a few more ringtone apps with local non-profits this winter, we are continuously looking for new opportunities, like the immersive sound installation we mounted at the recent Strange Folk Festival and several forthcoming Sonic Branding projects with local agencies and brands.”
Download the Lil Bub app at LilBUBsRingtones.com.