Foursquare Debuts Online Ad

December 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

Mashable characterized the partnership between Gap and Foursquare as “love affair”. Gap has been running promotions on Foursquare since this August and recently went so far as to put Foursquare co-founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai in one of its print ads.


By clicking the Foursquare button on the ads, shopping at Gap will be added to user’s to-do list on Foursquare along with a 30% coupon for a regular-priced item. The location-based app provides info of the nearest stores and will remind users of their Gap to-do when are nearby and pull up “Places” within Foursquare.

No doubt it is a significant step for Foursquare, which shows recognition from its partners and users. Mashable wrote, “Foursquare may have a significantly smaller userbase, but given the ads can directly drive foot traffic with a discount, we imagine the results could inspire others to emulate the format.”

What confuses me is that the incorporated Foursqaure feature is not very productive and to a certain extent replaceable. Unlike Facebook Like that has word-of-mouth effect, with a small userbase, Foursquare does not have this advantage. Unlike Shopkick which secures deals only for its users (consumers get discounted price by showing the coupon page on Shopkick), deals on Foursquare is not Foursquare-exclusive.

On the app page, it reads “Check-in @ any Gap store & get 30% off 1 reg-price item + Gap will donate $1 to foursquare founders’ charity campinteractive.org. Mention code FOURSQUARE. Offer valid 11/22-12/19. See store 4 details.”

In fact all you need is to mention FOURSQUARE at the counter. And this coupon is accessible for non-Fousquare users on its website.  The only use of Foursquare it seems to me is a location-aware memo which works when you deliberately check the memo yourself.

The non-contract job market in the US taught me that to maintain your job, you will have to make yourself irreplaceable, either through expertise, specific skill, exclusive clientele, or like Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada, a loyal team of employees. Apparently, Foursquare is not doing a good job in making itself useful.

Let’s admit it. It is not addictive. Rating stores is only fun for the first few minutes. And no incentive is provided to let people use Foursquare regularly and only Foursquare. It is possible that I might have misinterpreted the whole coupon redemption mechanism. My opinion is solely based on the instructions written on its app. To be fair, I will try out myself. (EXCUSE TO SHOP)

Gap shopping tomorrow!

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