Starbucks in Hot Pursuit of Mobile Users

  |  July 27, 2006   |  Comments

A summer mobile promo uses camera phones and image recognition technology.

Starbucks is halfway through a summer-themed promotion that encourages people to deploy their camera phones as part of a mobile scavenger hunt.

Participants in the "Starbucks Summer Pursuit" quiz and sweepstakes opt in to receive a series of SMS questions on their handsets, to which they can reply by sending a picture of the answer. To support the effort, Starbucks has licensed image recognition technology to verify correct responses. Phone users can also text in their answers to the test questions.

Quiz questions and clues include a combination of general summer themes and brand-specific topics. One such clue goes as follows: "Two p's, two c's and no h. I'm hard to spell, but easy to drink." The answer: "Frappuccino."

Starbucks is promoting the effort via search engine keyword buys, outdoor advertising and nearly three million "invitation-to-participate" cards being distributed at store locations and events around the country. Additionally, an e-mail blast went out to about two million people the company identified as Starbucks fans.

To join the promotion, players text message "SUMMER" to 66268.

The five-week scavenger hunt began on July 10 and will continue through mid-August, when five registered players will be chosen at random to engage in a two-day scavenger hunt on the streets of New York City. The winner and his or her guest wins a trip to Costa Rica.

Other companies have attempted to create real-world scavenger hunts, in some cases using camera phones, in the past. These have generally not taken place in the U.S., or have lacked the promotional support Starbucks has brought to bear for the Summer Pursuit effort. Two years ago, Nike created an SMS-based scavenger hunt on the streets of Manhattan to showcase its Air Force-X MID urban hiking shoe. And Coke has recently used image recognition technology as part of a mobile campaign in Europe.

Starbucks has previously engaged in what a spokesperson characterized as test campaigns using wireless messaging, but this promotion marks the company's first major foray into mobile.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!


Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.



Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.


    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Downers GroveWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager...
    • Internet Marketing Specialist
      Internet Marketing Specialist (InteractRV) - DallasInternet Marketing Specialist InteractRV - Anywhere Telecommute, USA SEM | SEO | Content Creator...
    • Tier 1 Support Specialist
      Tier 1 Support Specialist (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreThis position requires a highly motivated and multifaceted individual to contribute to and be...