Check-in using Foursquare at 7-Eleven for Out-of-this-World Prizes

7-Eleven Super8 & Foursquare

If you’re hankerin’ for a Big Gulp or a Slurpee, head over to your local 7-Eleven, (in the US only) but don’t forget to check-in with Foursquare and take advantage of the special. You just might win a trip to space. Yes that’s right, I said space… the final frontier and all that.

There are 21,000 prizes in total, starting with free tickets to the much anticipated Super8 for every 88th check-in. Every 88,888 check-in wins a zero-gravity experience and the grand prize for the person who checks-in the 888,888th time is a trip to sub-orbital space.

But even if you qualify for the grand prize, you may still be waiting. As the rules state “Space Adventures shall schedule the date of the Spaceflight as suborbital Spaceflight becomes available (including availability in terms of technical and governmental approvals).”

Unless the contest picks up steam over the last two-thirds of the month, Space Adventures won’t have to worry about giving away too many zero-gravity flights. The total Foursquare check-ins are under 23,0000 – well short of the 88,000 for even one of the ten flights to be awarded.

McDonald’s Brings Pong to Digital Billboard in Stockholm

I love the experience from engagement to redemption demonstrated in this example from McDonald’s in Sweden.

McDonald’s invited people passing by a large digital billboard in Stockholm a chance to play pong using just their smartphones. The game did not require downloading an app. It used HTML5 technology to verify the location of the user in relation to the screen and allowed them to control the paddles using just their fingers.

Players who were able to keep a rally going for 30 seconds received a mobile coupon and directions to a local McDonald’s where they could redeem their coupon for food prizes.

Top Chef Canada Cooks Up Contest with On-Air QR Codes

Top Chef Canada - Win a GE KitchenFans of Top Chef Canada can now win a $15,000 GE Monogram Kitchen by scanning a QR Code that will appear on-air during the show over the next 4 weeks. People who want to enter the contest but miss capturing the code during the tv show can visit the Top Chef website and capture the QR Code from their computer screen. The only other way to enter the contest is by physical mail. This should be enough to motivate viewers to download and register their Mobio app.

Mobio Identity Systems is a Vancouver-based company whose app is available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Once downloaded users are prompted to register their personal information. Once registered, a user can attach their credit card information to their Mobio account, turning their mobile phone into (in Mobio’s words) a “payphone”.

Mobio users scan QR codes as they appear in email, on the web, in print or on television using the app. In this example with Top Chef Canada, the user is taken to a contest entry form within the Mobio app. The difference with Mobio is that there is no need to type in your information, the user simply checks the box for name and email.

Back on April 27, Shaw Media (owner of The Food Network Canada) announced that they will be the official broadcast reseller of Mobio’s payment and marketing applications to ad agencies, media buyers and other clients across Canada.

The whole experience scanning the code from the website is very efficient, the scan and contest entry literally takes seconds. I watched tonight’s episode and missed seeing any QR code on the air during the show. Did you see it?

Top Chef Canada airs on The Food Network at 9pm ET/10pm PT.

Fiat Smartphone App Turns Street Signs Into Interactive Brochure

When the creative folks at Leo Burnett Madrid were tasked with promoting the Fiat Street Evo they headed out into the streets. They created a smartphone app for iPhone and Android that turned everyday traffic signs into launching pads for an interactive mobile brochure. For example when a Stop sign was recognized by the app it showed the car’s breaking features.

Users around the world can download the app and start scanning traffic signs in their city (it certainly helps if you know Spanish). Download the app and start scanning right away, secret prizes are hidden behind selected traffic signs.

And if you want to take out a Fiat Street Evo for a spin the app will use your location to find the nearest local Fiat dealer… in Spain.

Sun-Maid Uses QR Codes to Connect Product to Contest Site

Sun Maid uses QR Codes to connect consumers with contest entry
This week Sun-Maid Raisins launched a campaign contest promoting the Dreamworks film Kung Fu Panda 2. Sun-Maid raisin six-packs and 24 oz cannisters feature on-pack QR Codes that direct users to a mobile web destination where they can enter for a chance to win a grand-prize trip for four to Zoo Atlanta for an up-close and personal experience with a panda cub.

Rick Bruno, Vice President — Brand Management at Sun-Maid explained:

“By keeping the promotion entry simple and easily accessible by mobile devices, we anticipate a lot of entries and overall site activity, and we look forward to awarding someone with an exceptional grand prize

Hmmm, so tell me how it actually works

When the QR code is scanned it takes the user to a mobile friendly landing page (pictured at right). So far, so good. Things get a little weird from there. When ‘Enter to Win’ is tapped, the user is taken to ‘‘, the main promotion site and one not optimized for mobile. The user is then required to click ‘Enter to Win’ a second time and then led to the entry form.

Considering the fact that the campaign materials and press releases focus so heavily on the use of QR Codes, it’s unfortunate that the same attention was not given to providing a complete beginning-to-end experience optimized for the mobile user.

Macy’s Uses QR Codes to Promote Backstage Pass to Spring Style Tips

Macy's QR CodesThe adoption of 2D barcodes over the past year has been steadily increasing. What was once considered an oddity (at least in North America) when we first used one back in 2008 is now being used by more small businesses and mainstream retailers each and every month. We are commonly seeing the 2D barcodes on everything from business cards, sales receipts, product signage and transit ads.

Recently Macy’s introduced QR Codes as part of their Backstage Pass campaign. Shoppers can scan the code or use SMS to access the 30-second videos featuring style tips and fashion advice from Macy’s team of spokespeople including Bobbi Brown, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and Tommy Hilfiger.

Martine Reardron, Macy’s executive VP of Marketing said:

“Macy’s new Backstage Pass is an exciting evolution that brings our stable of fashion experts and designers directly to the customer while they’re shopping in our store, through their hand-held mobile devices. By providing fun and informative video features via an easy-to-use, direct-to-consumer platform, we are connecting and engaging our customer in a personal way that enhances and adds a new element to their shopping experience.”

To help explain how to use the QR codes Macy’s created a demonstration video “How to Use Macy’s Backstage Pass” (above), making it available to customers who text “learn” to MACYS (62297) or on the Find Your Magic sitelet, Facebook page or YouTube Channel. Macy’s sales associates will wear Backstage Pass lanyards with instructions on how to use the QR codes. Customers can download a free QR code reader application by texting “reader” to MACYS (62297).

Macy’s and Mobile Technologies

This is not the first time that Macy’s has embraced emerging mobile technologies. It first used 2D codes in magazine ads in 2010 was is of the first national retailers to use Shopkick, a mobile application and platform that allows users to earn points for checking in at stores to receive special offers.

QR Codes a Passing Fad?

QR Codes are not simply a passing fad as seen in the answers to my question posted on Quora. As GPS and image recognition technologies advance and customers become more comfortable with the check-in, I think we will look back at QR codes as merely the critical first step in connecting real world locations to online content including loyalty programs, deals and value-added content.

Is Your iPhone Listening to What You’re Watching?

IntoNow iPhone AppIf you’re a fan of Snooki and The Situation you’ll want to check out MTV’s new campaign for Jersey Shore. You can earn a chance to win a trip to the Season 4 Premiere party by checking into the 6 remaining episodes in Season 3 using the iPhone app IntoNow.

IntoNow, which works much like the song identifying app Shazam, can identify 2.6 million broadcast airings using its patented platform Soundprint. Soundprint analyzes the audio coming from your televsion in 3-second increments creating an audio fingerprint.

The fingerprint is then compared to their reference set made up of 130 channels of live broadcasting going back 5 years. The system then returns the metadata that goes with the show, including title, cast and links to IMDB. With a tap the show can be added to your Netflix queue or shared on your Twitter or Facebook profile.

Other sites such as Miso and GetGlue are built on check-ins, rewards and sharing, but the convenient part of IntoNow is the Soundprint feature identifying the exact episode of a series.

Unfortunately for us here in Canada, the IntoNow app is only available in the US iTunes store.

Matrix Barcodes Link to Classic Cocktail Recipes at the LCBO

LCBO uses QR Codes to direct shoppers to Classic Cocktail recipesAs part of the LCBO (Liquor Commission Board of Ontario) Classic Cocktails promotion, shelf signage for the brands featured in the campaign feature Matrix barcodes.

Matrix (2D) bar codes have been used throughout the rest of the world enabling users of mobile devices to connect with product sites, contest info, coupons or other additional information.

Unfortunately the experience of using matrix barcodes sometimes falls short of providing a great digital experience for the user. Issues with the sizing and positioning of the code happen frequently with inexperienced developers. Adequate instructions should always be provided for uninitiated users and even if everything does go perfectly to that point sometimes an unfriendly mobile experience awaits the user at the destination. You can read more about matrix barcodes in this post I wrote on the Delvinia Blog.

In this case the system worked flawlessly. I opened my ScanLife iPhone app and held it about 6-8 inches away from the shelf signage. The code was immediately picked up and my browser was directed to the  recipe for a Gin Martini made with Tanqueray on the Classic Cocktails mobile web site. At that point I could easily bookmark that with my browser for reference later.

Cheers to the LCBO and their digital team for such a useful application. Now to make myself a Gin Martini.

Originally published at by me.