The last time Phil McIntyre, Kevin Jonas II, and Joe Jonas worked together, it was to make the Jonas Brothers the most popular boy band in the world — at least for a moment.
Now, when the name Jonas either conjures up Nick’s Instagram-famous muscles or Joe’s band DNCE’s “Cake By The Ocean” summer jam, the three are getting into the app-making game.
McIntyre, formerly the JoBros manager, founded PhilyMack Productions in 2006. The company is part artist management (for musicians like Demi Lovato), part full-service creative agency. About a year ago, McIntyre sat down with Kevin Jonas, who had been working in the tech and marketing space at Blu Market, a company that helps influencers grow their social media brands.
The result is a new venture called PhilyMack Games (with other partners including Roc Nation and Steven Forkosh), which the three discussed on Wednesday at the Fast Company Innovation Festival. The company has already released two mobile games. The first, released in October, is centered around DNCE. Users can pick one of the band member characters (Joe Jonas, JinJoo Lee, Jack Lawless, and Cole Whittle) and launch them from balloon to balloon, making sure not to let them fall — all while instrumental tracks from the band’s upcoming album play in the background. The second game is called Demi Lovato’s Zombarazzie Adventure, a intense puzzle game released just last week, with an average user session time of 10-12 minutes (way above average, according to PhilyMack).
“It’s where the world’s at,” says McIntyre during the panel at Fast Company Innovation Festival. “[Kevin and I] looked at each other and said, we have this incredible roster of artists, they love playing mobile games themselves, we have the means of distribution, this could be a recipe for something magic.”
Celebrity app games have been in vogue as of late, pioneered by Glu Mobile’s Kim Kardashian game and Pocket Gems’ Episode series for Demi Lovato. But both of those companies create story-based games, inviting players to pretend to live the life of the rich and famous stars they admire. PhilyMack Games so far specializes in games more akin to Candy Crush — addictive, mindless, puzzle games perfect for crowded subway rides, and for earworming “Cake By The Ocean” into your head for the rest of the day.
Kevin Jonas and McIntyre see PhilyMack games as adding to the way celebrities build out their brands (and of course, make those celebrities more money). Each game has small, specific touches that make the games unique to the musicians they’re focused on (the balloons in the DNCE game were inspired by the band’s EP cover; Zombarazzie features Lovato’s dog), acting as little Easter eggs for the fans that play. The games are also just actually fun — they don’t feel like branded content to the average user.
“I’m diving in head first into something I have a passion for that wasn’t always able to be at the focus when we were doing things previously,” Kevin Jonas says during a pre-Fast Company session call. “As you take a backseat to being in the public eye, you get to start to develop and take risks. It only shows you can change and adapt and still allow yourself to be more creative and have more fun.”