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Subway scores direct hit with Battleship mobile sweepstakes

May 8, 2012

The Subway mobile game

Fast food franchise Subway is placing mobile calls-to-action on its soft drink cups and sandwich bags to not only build the company’s email database, but also reward consumers with prizes for playing games.

The Subway promotion is part of the company’s broader marketing campaign for the upcoming “Battleship” film. Each cup includes a code that can be entered on Subway’s mobile or Web site for a chance to win prizes.

“By providing a mobile solution, in addition to a traditional Web entry point, we allow consumers to engage with us how they want to and when they want to, thereby increasing the likelihood for participation in the promotion,” said Mike Dwyer, senior manager of digital at Subway, Milford, CT.

“Consumers now expect a full experience regardless of the device they use to connect online,” he said.

“As we define our efforts, we need to ensure that we are meeting that expectation by planning for mobile from the start and not treat it as a bolt on.”

Battle on mobile
The codes are placed on Subway 30-oz. plastic cups and on sandwich bag stickers that promote Battleship, which is slated to be released in movie theaters on May 18.

Each code is eight letters long and includes ad copy that encourages users to enter the codes via Subway’s Web and mobile site.

To redeem the code, consumers enter into their mobile browsers.

In order to register for the game, consumers have to enter their email addresses. Consumers can also choose to sign-up for Subway’s email program, which can be a great way for the company to reach out to consumers in the future about similar upcoming promotions.

Users can enter up to three codes daily until June 14 when the campaign ends.

For each code entered, consumers must play a game to vie for a chance to win.

Players rotate their devices to shoot targets at ships to win prizes. For example, in level one of the game, consumers can win Visa gift cards and free Coca-Cola products. As the levels get harder, the prizes increase in value.

The on-cup codes

Digital boat
Using a game as an incentive for users to enter the codes is a great way for a company to bolster sales and give consumers a reason to come back to a mobile site regularly.

In Subway’s case, the mobile site is a natural way for the fast food company to take advantage of consumers who are most likely sitting in restaurants with their mobile devices on hand.

Additionally, once users register for the game, they are sent an email that explains the game and how they can win. With the high number of email opens from mobile devices, leveraging the two channels is a smart way for Subway to increase its number of email subscribers.

This cup promotion is the latest in a long string of mobile initiatives from Subway.

Most recently, the sandwich company drove users to stores using a geo-targeted mobile ad campaign (see story).

Additionally, the company has made mobile payments a top priority by partnering with MasterCard on a mobile effort that lets consumers pay for meals with a Pay-Pass enabled mobile device or card (see story).

“Subway, which has become a favorite lunch spot, creates the perfect situation for a mobile sweepstakes — most people walk out of school or work on their way to lunch and the first thing they think about and grab is their mobile device,” said David Schoenbach, vice president  of product management at Exadel, San Francisco.

“Having consumers enter codes in this situation should have a positive outcome because it creates a unique opportunity for the company to connect with the consumer on a personal level,” he said.

“The consumer is interested in the game, and now has to implement codes found on a branded cup. Another way this connection could be made is through QR codes.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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