Failure to Launch? Foursquare and 7-Eleven

June 7, 2011

digital signage, insights

the 123 of this article:

  1. Checking in on Foursquare is an impulsive action
  2. Promote Foursquare Specials and contests at the Point of Sale
  3. Don’t force customers to remember offline media for an online promotion

I’m surprised by the current stealth mode on the 7-Eleven “Check-into-Space” Foursquare campaign for the upcoming movie Super 8 –

They promoted the campaign on radio in Los Angeles and I’m sure other markets. One week into the promo and they’re below 15k check-ins nationally. The grand prize kicks in at 888,888 check-ins, and they need to hit that number by June 30 when the promo ends. Maybe it’s a smart scheme and they didn’t want to award the grand prize?

Or maybe you shouldn’t promote a Foursquare campaign on radio?

Foursquare is about being spontaneous – an impulse buy. You don’t think about check-ins in advance. You check in to brag to friends, beat their weekly score, become the mayor or get a special. And what’s more special than this promotion? 7-Eleven’s giving away a trip on a real rocket to space – something only a few hundred people have ever experienced in the last 50 years.

Before writing this I visited a few 7-Elevens in our area, just to see why the campaign appears to be under-performing. I couldn’t find any point of sale graphics. 7-Eleven has an excellent Digital Signage network installed in many locations… and guess what, I didn’t see any call to action there either.

The marketing professionals behind this campaign expected better – the micro-site shows live check-ins and has a counter that goes to 999,999. If the campaign never takes off,  it might be chalked up that in some way Foursquare isn’t ready to deliver this many impressions. That’s bogus.

The real problem here is you have to promote Social Media campaigns at the point of impact. I’m not sure if 7-Eleven’s digital signage network can dial-in unique local content, or they could have used any one of the great Foursquare Apps provided by anyone of the Social-Local-Mobile companies out there. There are excellent live Foursquare solutions from a number of companies, such as Locamoda, Screenscape, SignageLive and others (shameless plug, including Insteo).

Even if 7-Eleven’s network isn’t individually addressable, it doesn’t matter. A big poster inside the door and 15 second spots running with high frequency and customers would know what to do.

Otherwise, I had to hear a radio commercial and remember to visit 7-Eleven and check-in. That’s a lot to think about when all I want is a Big Gulp.

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About Jim Nista

Creative Director, Insteo

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One Comment on “Failure to Launch? Foursquare and 7-Eleven”

  1. bob burtis Says:

    Nice article jim. Does not sound like that campaign was planned out well.


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