Foursquare. Your face in Times Square.

What is Foursquare? What is it for?
Foursquare is primarily for letting your friends know where you are and figuring out where they are. If with Twitter you share “What’s happening?” and with Facebook “What’s in your mind?”, we can say that Foursquare is the social medium to share your answer to the question “Where are you?”.

Wherever you are, the GPS inside your mobile device, is aware of your location. By Foursquare, you can decide to “Check-in” to the place you are, which means sharing your exact location with the Foursquare community.
People check-in at all kind of places – cafes, bars, restaurants, parks, homes, offices.
But it’s not just that.
By Checking-in you collect points and “badges”.
Foursquare has a set of default badges that you can “unlock” according to your Checking-in activity.
For instance if you check-in to a café more than anyone else, you’ll become “the mayor”of that café, and your iPhone Foursquare app will highlight an icon of a crown (the “mayor” badge has been unlocked).

The step from Foursquare default badges to branded badges was pretty short.

Frequent Starbucks visitors who check-in at retail locations using Foursquare, can unlock the “Barista badge” after five checkins.
Also, mayors of individual Starbucks stores can unlock the “Mayor Offer” and enjoy a money-saving perk for their frequent store check-ins.

Companies start to understand that Foursqaure is a great social medium to engage foot traffic to stores.
McDonald’s used 100 randomly awarded $5 and $10 giftcards as checkin bait to lure in potential diners.
By this simple $1,000 Foursquare campaign, McDonald’s was able to increased Check-ins by 33%.
A company of McDonald’s size spends millions on advertising every year, and yet a cheap Foursquare campaign netted the company measurable success. Of course, the metric here was check-ins (not sales), and there were likely several other factors contributing to the campaign’s success, but it’s still a story that agencies should pay heed to.

These news must have been floating in my subconscious when, this weekend, trying to get out of the Times Square crowd as quick as i could, I saw the M&M’s store and I had this idea.
The M&M’s store is located in such a famous spot that, for a certain target, revealing to the world that they have been there, can be an engaging component. Also, M&M’s candies are similar, for colors and shapes, to the Foursquare badges.
So I designed an “M&M’s Mayor” badge. For sure a good copywriter could find a cool headline for the promotion, playing with the similarity of the names “Foursquare” and “Times Square”.
The idea is that if you Check-in to the store more than anybody else, you unlock that badge, and you get your celebrity moment, being projected on the huge store’s display in Times Square.
(see mockup below)

Foursquare is a free application and you can get it here: http://foursquare.com

Nick Landucci

One Response to “Foursquare. Your face in Times Square.”

  1. nicklanducci October 13, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    …Guess Corona liked this idea:)
    Corona’s New Facebook Campaign Puts Your Face in Times Square: http://goo.gl/5AQb

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