Sports Authority, Pepsi, and JC Penney plan yuletide campaigns on Foursquare, while Walmart, Best Buy, and Target give geo-social a 'Whrrl.'
Sports Authority appears to be the majorette leading a geo-social holiday parade of major brands, including names like Pepsi, JC Penney, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy.
The sports gear retailer will give away $500 gift cards to 20 randomly selected people who use Foursquare to check in at one of its stores on Black Friday. Participants are required to publish the check-in on Twitter to have a chance to win, and the promotion runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
"I think there's more of a compelling case for the shopper when there are 20 of these things at a great [reward], and they have a real shot to win," said Peter Thulson, e-commerce analyst for the Denver-based brand. "It's not like trying to win the lottery."
When someone wins the $500 gift card at one of its 463 U.S. locations, a store manager will make an announcement over the intercom system. Thulson admitted that the campaign was unusually complicated considering the hectic nature of Black Friday retail.
"Our operations would not let us do this if they were not confident in the process we have put in place," he said.
In the coming days, Sports Authority will advertise the promotion via display ads, e-mail campaigns, Facebook (where it has 262,500 "likes"), Twitter (where it has 5,100 followers), and its home page.
"Basically, all the impressions we can put behind it, we are putting behind it," said Clay Cowan, VP of e-commerce. "We are going to push this thing digitally as hard as we can."
Sports Authority's past experiments with location-based advertising informed the campaign design. "We like the ROI on the things we've been doing on Foursquare," he said. "Everything is still in the early stages, but we do feel like we are driving incremental trips to our store."
JC Penney and Pepsi are also running Foursquare campaigns this holiday season. Plano, TX-based JC Penney is offering check-ins $10 off any ticket exceeding $50 until Jan. 8. Pepsi has partnered with Hess gas stations, where check-ins can get a Brisk iced tea beverage and a Frito Lay product for $1.99. Perhaps more importantly for encouraging participation, they will be entered into a sweepstakes for free gas and Brisk for a year. The campaign runs until Dec. 29 at 643 Hess locations nationwide, said Foursquare spokesperson Erin Gleason.
Whrrl's Sleigh Anchored by 3 Big Reindeer: Target, Walmart, and Best Buy
Walmart and Target went live on Whrrl's new "Holiday Deals Society" platform today, while Best Buy is slated to join next week, according to Heather Meeker, spokesperson for Whrrl parent company Pelago. Whrrl users can activate rewards from brands like Marie Callender’s, Con Agra, Elmer's, Hamilton Beach, Seagate, and Murphy USA when they check into the major retailers.
Of the three big box players, Walmart seems to making the biggest push via the Holiday Deals Society. It is offering check-ins the chance to win $25 Marie Callender's gift cards and movie passes for two. Consumers are invited to join the virtual society when they check in to any of the chain stores. The society is designed to be a community board of user recommendations on holiday retail deals. Recommendations there need not involve official Whrrl partners. For example, here's one of the first ones to appear on the platform for Macy's: "@ Macys.com (685 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94105) Shop their clearance and sale items. You would be surprised how low their prices are! I bought my son a leather jacket for $8 two years ago, marked down from $70!"
Lastly, when people check into Walmart and Target, they’ll also have the chance to join The USA Today Whrrl society, "USA Weekend," as well as a "Family Meals" society that aggregates food-related specials.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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