Subway Expands Mobile Program to More Stores

He’s not claiming SMS and text-based mobile marketing will save America’s fractured family unit. But Modiv Media President and CEO Robert Wesley said he recently watched it help a little.

Wesley was discussing the success of My Subway Mobile, a program that uses Modiv Media’s technology to drive participating cell phone users to the sandwich shops. First launched as a pilot in August 2006 in Buffalo, New York, the campaign is now in place at more than 500 Subway franchises, said Wesley.

On Sunday, Wesley was at Qwest Field in Seattle where a Seattle Seahawks football game was used as a venue to urge fans to give My Subway Mobile a try. Doing so required cell phone users to send a five-character message (SUB012) to a number displayed on the Jumbotron. In return, participants received coupons and other incentives to hit a Subway.

“We observed a kind of interesting phenomenon, a parent-child syndrome,” said Wesley. He said the young people at the stadium were significantly more adept at shooting off and reading text messages on their phones. Since many parents wanted to check out the Subway offers, they asked their kids for help. Bonding ensued. And if they followed it up with a meal at Subway, one that was made more affordable by a Modiv Media-delivered virtual coupon, that’s just totally heartwarming.

In the Buffalo area, which began with 12 participating Subway stores, there are now 107 franchises on board with My Subway Mobile. Customers who enroll receive a free six-inch sub with the purchase of a 32-ounce drink.

Funding for the endeavor is being provided by Subway and the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust (SFAFT). According to Modiv and Subway, some of the stores in Buffalo enjoyed a 50 percent coupon redemption rate, described as “a significant increase” over the typical 2 to 3 percent response rates from regular paper coupons. A big advantage is the ability to dangle a carrot when the donkeys are hungry, so to speak.

“A brand marketer can reach them at their moment of decision,” said Wesley. “In the Subway case, by 11 a.m., most people don’t know what they are going to have for lunch or where they are going to go.” But if their cell phone jingles during the late morning with a free sandwich offer from Subway, chances are good their lunch decision is suddenly a bit easier.

At the Seahawks game, those who enrolled were also entered in a sweepstakes to win a signed helmet from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, noted Wesley.

Modiv Media executes in-store, self-service solutions for shoppers in addition to campaigns on mobile phones.

Related reading