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Case Studies

The following six case studies show how major brands have used mobile promotion and location based marketing to reach their target audience.

PSC "S‰" Political Initiative in Catalan, Spain

This was an ingenious and simple use of mobile marketing to bolster a political campaign within a region in Spain. The regional social-democratic party in Catalan, called the PSC, was forwarding an initiative that would give their government more autonomy from Spain. Before the referendum was voted on, the PSC hosted four political rallies where, among other things, they hosted a Bluetooth booth where party members could download videos, images, and ringtones to their mobile phones to help the cause. They could then share these downloads with others, creating a viral effect for the campaign. Whether because of the political beliefs of the voters or the mobile marketing, the initiative for more autonomy passed with 73.9% of the votes.

Whistler Ski Resort

In 2006, Whistler Ski Resort placed Bluetooth- and infrared-enabled posters throughout the London Tube to encourage London commuters to enter a sweepstakes to win a free ski trip to Whistler (see Figure 6.6). The posters did a great job of explaining how to take advantage of the offer using a Bluetooth- or IR-enabled mobile phone. After commuters opted in to receive messaging from the poster, they were sent an animated GIF telling them whether they had won the trip and encouraging them to visit the website. Although the program had some usability problems and probably was an immediate letdown for many participants, Whistler was an early adopter of location-based mobile marketing and did a good job getting visitors' attention and explaining how the technology should be used.

Figure 6.6

Figure 6.6 Bluetooth-enabled posters in the London Tube for Whistler Ski Resort in Canada.

Corona Beer

A company called HyperTag worked with Corona to help adjust the perception of the brand in Spain, to show that it was still "hip." Corona deployed a team of promoters to bars and clubs around the country, equipped with wearable Bluetooth transmitters that could send bar patrons cool, free branded images. They also were able to send reminders about the 5 p.m. happy hour ("It's Corona time!"). The effort helped shift the brand image, and the calendar reminder helped keep the brand top-of-mind when people were likely to be most receptive to the message.


In 2007, when CNN wanted to raise awareness for their mobile website, they created Bluetooth- and infrared-enabled posters to be distributed throughout the London City Airport and also the Barcelona 3GSM mobile phone trade fair. When passersby interacted with the poster, they were sent an SMS message that included a link to the mobile site. If passersby preferred, they were able to send a text message to a short code instead of using their Bluetooth technology to get the link sent to their phone. The effort was considered a success, driving much-needed international traffic to the mobile website and positioning CNN as a tech-savvy and mobiley engaged news service. This effort is also a good example of how companies should leverage multiple technologies and methods of digital communication to have the most effective reach with their marketing message.


In 2009, Nike used an MMS 2D bar-coding campaign to drive awareness for their sponsorship of the "Dew Tour," whose primary sponsor was the Mountain Dew soft drink. The target audience was extreme sports enthusiasts between the ages of 13 and 18, and Nike wanted to make attendees feel more connected with the athletes. To achieve that goal, event attendees were encouraged to take pictures of 2D barcodes and send them as an MMS to a short code that would respond by sending back videos and information about the athlete featured in the billboard or poster that hosted the 2D code. All the content was automatically optimized for the handset that had sent the MMS, which made it a very good user experience.

This strategy was similar to a QR coding strategy, but QR code readers are not common features of American mobile phones; instead, they processed the codes after they were sent in as an MMS. This method prevented attendees from having to download a QR code reader before interacting with the media. The campaign was so successful that Nike is looking at integrating similar initiatives into all aspects of the marketing mix in 2010.

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines is the largest foreign airline in Japan. They wanted to reach out to their Japanese demographic to show them that they were tech-savvy and understood the Japanese culture, so they created a QR code campaign to collect email addresses of their passengers. Billboards with QR codes were positioned throughout urban Tokyo. The campaign did a lot to create the brand association that Northwest was looking for and also generated a lot of positive PR and buzz about the campaign. The mobile website visits were 35% above the target for the initiative, and the campaign was extended as a result.

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