City Council of Porto Alegre: Procon App



Client: Consumer Protection System (Procon), Porto Alegre, Brazil
Agency: Queen Mob
Category: Nonprofits & Government
Award Entry Year: 2015


Campaign Summary

Procon is a part of the Consumer Protection System of the City Council of Porto Alegre/Brazil. Its job is to guarantee consumer rights and protect consumers against possible abuses by retailers and other companies. For instance, if a consumer wants to file a complaint against a retailer that sold a broken TV -- and is not willing to exchange it for a new one – that consumer can either visit the Procon headquarters or go on its website to report the offenders.

Since both of those channels were lacking, Procon and agency Queen Mob decided to build a mobile app that would let consumers register complaints even as they were shopping.


Objective and Context

The client and agency decided to focus on mobile because a large number of complaints and abuses happen at the exact moment of purchase, when someone notices an irregularity inside the store. In this kind of situation, the last thing the consumer wants is to wait to get home to their desktop computer, or drive to Procon to complain about the store. No! Consumers want to do this immediately on their smartphones.

The app was targeted toward the entire city.


Creative Strategy

Since day one, the tool became mandatory for consumers, empowering them when they are on the go. The focus of the project was to give the app very simple features, which could not, under any circumstances, be a bad experience for users -- since they were already struggling to solve a problem.

The app has three main features:

  • A three-step complaint area, where consumers can send complaints to Procon within 30 seconds.
  • A ranking of the companies that receive the most complaints, so consumers can make better decisions when they’re shopping.
  • A tip area, so that consumers are aware of their consumer rights at the moment of purchase.

After the app launched, the agency began monitoring the way people were using it, when they were using it, and how, in addition to examining which areas were getting the most sessions. The app also had an email feedback channel. The second stage of the project involved iterating the app based on what users were doing on it, also incorporating the feedback they were offering through e-mails and reviews.

True story. A rat was found in one of the most popular supermarkets of Porto Alegre. Before the app launched, even if someone got a picture of it, they’d have to go home, download the image to their computer and fill out a huge form to send the complaint to Procon. Or they could go to Procon headquarters, where there is no place to park and a huge line. With the app, Procon has created a whole new process. All that needs to happen is for the consumer to take a picture and complete a very short form – and in 30 seconds, Procon will receive the message and in ten days max, it will solve the problem. It is the simple adaptation of the process to a mobile context.

To promote the app through owned media, Procon used banners on its own site. Additionally, there was a social media strategy, training of Procon workers, email marketing, folders and posters and promotion of the app on Procon’s email signature.

The Procon app is not a campaign, per se; it is a mobile presence strategy that has revealed a strong demand for the channel. With great reviews and more than 5,000 downloads in one day, it was clear that Procon was right in shifting the focus of its service to mobile. Two main considerations were to enable the technology and define the success of the tool. This was done in part by creating a very easy way to take a picture, and that could only be provided by an app; it simply gave the community what they were asking for.

Before the app, Procon had no mobile strategy or presence.



Here are the effort’s results:

  • Before the launch of the app, Procon had about 1,400 complaints per month, but the app had more than 5,000 downloads in one day.
  • The app had a 30 percent retention rate.
  • It received great reviews from users and from the media.
  • In the first 30 days, 41 percent of the total complaints sent to Procon came through mobile.
  • The app received a five-star review from the Apple app store and a 4.2 rating from Google Play.

Every major city in Brazil has a Procon but no one else has such a great tool. Since the project was launched, the agency has received requests from several other Brazilian city councils to build a similar app. As one user commented, “Another excellent channel to protect consumers from abuse of certain companies.”


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