Subway and 7-Eleven Dip Into Apple’s Passbook in Hong Kong

Subway and 7-Eleven have both claimed that they are the first company to roll out promotional campaigns using Apple Passbook in Hong Kong, a sign that mobile couponing has hit the city in time for the festive season.

Subway’s use of Apple Passbook is tactical and straightforward while 7-Eleven integrated the mobile wallet concept with a lucky draw, promos on its website, and Facebook.

Subway Partners PassKit to Track Performance

A week since Subway rolled out Passbook, more than 9,000 vouchers were issued with 4,000 active users – the number of vouchers in people’s iPhones.

Yvonne Ma, marketing and PR manager at Uppal Hospitality Group (UHG), one of the franchisees of Subway in Hong Kong, said a key reason to use Apple’s Passbook is the ability to receive marketing data.

Ma would know as she was being approached by many dining apps in the past and it was a frustrating experience, as she had no access to the third-party data to track performance for her promotional campaigns.

Here’s how the mechanics of the Subway digital voucher works: iPhone 5 users and those on the new operating system iOS 6 could download the voucher directly by either visiting the link ( or scanning the QR code that are on promotional flyers and posters distributed at the six Subway outlets in Soho, Central, and Wanchai operated by the group.

Once it’s in the phone, it has location-based capabilities that will alert customers walking close to the participating outlets that appear on their lock screens, which they could show to staff to redeem the offer.

Before marketers rush to roll out coupons on Passbook, Paul Tomes, co-founder and CEO at PassKit, warns that there are technical barriers to the platform such as access to expensive cloud infrastructure, coding background, and sophisticated point of sales scanning solutions.

The startup aims to make it easy and affordable for CMOs, business owners, and developers to create, distribute, and manage coupons, tickets, and membership cards on Passbook.

For instance, the Subway campaign allows Ma to find out where the vouchers were added, how many people have downloaded the vouchers, including transaction data such as which branch and when the offers were redeemed.

The mobile tech platform also allows marketers to collect email and telephone contacts, supports multiple languages, and provides personalized passes depending on how a campaign is set up, Tomes explained.

Because PassKit offers a freemium model to attract SMEs across a wide range of industries from travel, tourism, to food and beverage, it currently has 8,600 clients worldwide. Its key customer also includes Apple in Australia.

7-Eleven Teams Up With Green Tomato for Passbook Offer

As part of 7-Eleven’s mobile activation, the convenience store has launched a quirky game that customers could play on their smartphones and enter a lucky draw to win cash coupons, which they could add in Passbook.

The mobile campaign is not limited to iPhones as other smartphone users are able to store the coupons in their mobile, with the goal to get customers to purchase its fast food.

7-Eleven’s mobile game page received more than 7,000 visitors and 80,000 visits a week since it launched. However, the chain did not reveal how many downloaded the discount coupons on Passbook.

Customers are encouraged to scan the designated QR code or go to the campaign link  that will direct them to a mathematical quiz to add the number of siew mai (HK dim sum) and enter the lucky draw.

Promotional messages to the mobile campaign are more large-scale as they featured on 7-Eleven’s website as well as social media to its 183,000 fans on Facebook. The Passbook post on Facebook attracted 139 likes and 16 shares. A print ad was also placed in local daily newspaper am730, including in-store posters.

7-Eleven partnered with local mobile developer Green Tomato for the Passbook campaign.

Both 7-Eleven and Subway launched Passbook offers on Nov. 14. The convenience store will round up its mobile coupons on Dec. 4, while Subway will continue through to Dec. 20.

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