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Showtime sees 3,000 check-ins via foursquare

September 28, 2011

NEW YORK – Showtime saw approximately 3,000 mobile check-ins when it ran a foursquare campaign that promoted its reality series, “The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants.”

During the “Case Study: Building a Franchise Audience” session, executives talked about how they engaged with a whole new segment of fans via mobile. The foursquare and Major League Baseball check-in program connected consumers across all of their social platforms.

“We started to think how we would promote the show because the budget was extremely limited,” said George Debolt, senior vice president of media promotions and partnerships at Showtime.

“As part of the process we tapped OMD to come up with an idea that will rise above the fray,” he said. “They came back to us with an interesting idea to distribute baseballs to people from an outdoor billboard.”

Mobile engagement
To promote the new show and engage users, Showtime worked with OMD and foursquare on the initiative.

Users who passed by the MLB store in New York’s SoHo saw signage that encourage them to check-in to the location to receive a free baseball.

Once users checked in, a baseball was automatically dispensed from the outdoor billboard.

“Once we had the technology, we worked with a provider to dispense the balls in the unit,” said Trevor Guthrie, east coast director at Ignition Factory, New York.

“We tested 1,000 balls to make sure that they weren’t clogged when dispensed and we ended up removing a window at the MLB store and building the apparatus,” he said.

“We had about 3,000 check-ins to the actual billboard.”

According to Mr. Guthrie, the company looked at several platforms to run the campaign, including Facebook Places.

“Foursquare is solely focused on location and we wanted people to check-in to the MLB location,” Mr. Guthrie said. “It made the most sense for us.

“The foursquare audience is incredibly social,” he said.

The executive also said that one of the company’s biggest fears was that it thought that people would check-in to the location everyday to get a free baseball.

However, that was not the case.

“We put in a system that checks their names,” Mr. Guthrie said. “But we saw that people weren’t coming everyday to check-in so we ending up lifting the restriction 2-3 weeks in.”

Mobile check-in
Foursquare provides an opportunity for brands to engage consumers.

Several brands including Crumbs, Payless and Saks use foursquare to reward consumers when they check-in to their locations.

“When you check-in, everyone that you are friends with on foursquare will see it,” said Jake Furst, business development manager at foursquare, New York.

“Our goal is to be a self-service platform,” he said. “Everything that we do ties back to location.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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