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Red Bull proximity marketing campaign distributes mobile coupons via Bluetooth

Red Bull proximity marketing campaign distributes

Consumers can respond to digital signage

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Red Bull and Kraft are running proximity-based mobile coupon promotions targeting consumers with Bluetooth-enabled devices while they are in convenience stores.

Basically the program works in 1,400 Macs/Couche-Tard convenience stores in Canada and all begins on digital signage at the point of sale. The digital signage broadcasts ads for various products and services that the convenience store offers such as Coca-Cola and Cadbury. 

“We have been asked by the signage owners to enhance the value of the screens so that advertisers can present a mobile coupon which takes a nanosecond to hit your phone if it is Bluetooth enabled,” said Alex Romanov, president/CEO of iSign Media Corp., Toronto.

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“We can put anywhere from two to five coupons on their phone that is relevant to brands’ offers,” he said. “Offers can be changed in a second, new campaigns can be put throughout the system, and at the same time we are able to capture the interest and response of the consumers to the ads.”

ISign is the largest single digital signage footprint in Canada, and No. 3 in North America, with about 5,600 signs reaching roughly 1.5 million customers each day.
How brands are using it
Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Red Bull and Kraft are pushing deals to consumers via the signage.

Red Bull proximity marketing campaign distributes

The mobile coupon is sent to the consumer'sdevice

All consumers need to do is enable the Bluetooth functionality on their phone and they receive the offers.

The Bluetooth enabled devices vibrate or beep and the screen asks the mobile phone user if he or she would like an offer from Coca-Cola. If the person agrees, the coupon is immediately sent to the phone and can be redeemed at the cash register either via a bar code reader or a serial number, depending on the type of phone the customer has and the technology that the retail location has in place.

“The phones have to be Bluetooth-enabled to pick up our messaging,” Mr. Romanov said. “Connecting to shoppers via their mobile device allows for much wider, richer media to be delivered.

“For example, advertisers have the option to deliver content such as video and coupons, providing a richer experience for the shopper,” he said.

Over time consumers’ actions in regards to the digital ads, with mobile calls to action create personal interest ads that are sent to that shopper.

With the case of Coca-Cola, the brand is able to track its campaign each day to see how many consumers redeem coupons.

The brand is able to make its digital signage measureable and accountable for the first time.

“As the momentum builds for mobile-driven digital signage, proximity-marketing based advertising will have the immediate advantage to interact with millions of mobile phones per month resulting in possibly the largest digital data gathering system to date,” Mr. Romanov said.

“The combination will both provide and prove the power of location-based interactive proximity advertising using Bluetooth enabled technology – which is at no cost to consumers, does not impact their privacy and provides virtual feedback to clients for analysis and future plan," he said.

Red Bull – case study
Red Bull is using digital signage to push its power drink. The brand is giving visitors to convenience store shoppers across Canada.

The coupon offers two cans of Red Bull for $4. The digital signage asks consumers to enable the Bluetooth on their device for a message from Red Bull.

The display is at the point of purchase, reaching consumers who are waiting in line to pay or just walking around the store.

Once consumers enable the Bluetooth on their device, they receive the coupon.

The set up within a Mac's/Couche-Tard store is to have one 32-inch screen in the store aisles and two 17-inch screens near the point of sale.

Red Bull is able to receive real-time feedback on each advertisement sent to shopper’s phones, from every sign and location.

“Advancements in mobile devices and digital signage, coupled with growing consumer acceptance of mobile marketing, are opening up key new opportunities for mobile-driven digital signage and affords a higher level of interactivity that didn’t exist before in public places,” Mr. Romanov said.

“Proximity-based mobile marketing can support social networking, price matching, coupons and real-time transactions to consumers at the point of sale, allowing today’s savvy and technologically-oriented consumer to engage, communicate and transact how, when and where they wish to,” he said.

“That’s why mobile proximity marketing can greatly improve the overall customer experience – which is the secret to achieving preferred status for any retail brand.”

After this story went to press, iSign issued the following clarifications:

- The campaign has only just started to rollout, so it is not yet in all 1,400 stores. We expect it will be complete within 4 months time.

- The creatives supplied were just mock-ups to represent a likeness of what a shopper would see within the retail environment. Brands and offers would change subject to the region and ad network.

- It is the largest proximity-marketing initiative in Canada to date, but the largest signage footprint is through iSign’s ad network partner, Pinpoint Media.

Dan Butcher reported for this story.

Giselle Tsirulnik is deputy managing editor on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily. Reach her at giselle@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Database/CRM, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Red Bull, Kraft, iSign, proximity marketing, Bluetooth, mobile marketing, Alex Romonov

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Comments on "Red Bull proximity marketing campaign distributes mobile coupons via Bluetooth"

  1. Paul Baron says:

    August 16, 2012 at 1:40am

    With only half the phones having only older Bluetooth only technology, these campaigns and marketers need to consider devices that will engage the smartphone users who can only connect with messaging via WiFi.
  2. James Cochrane says:

    February 5, 2011 at 7:17pm

    This concept is both cool and scary at the same time. Obviously if you are involed in marketing this is a great way to get to your customer immediately but it seems somewhat intrusive. I guess you have the right to refuse the coupon but it gives vendors access to your shopping habits which you may or may not be comfortable with.
  3. Derek Johnson says:

    February 5, 2011 at 1:20am

    Wouldn't this be considered SPAM?
  4. Simon Balmer says:

    February 1, 2011 at 6:26pm

    Thanks for this! I think this is a great use of mobile coupons in store to drive sales. I thik we will see a steady increase of these campaign sin 2011. Notably I do agree with Rachel to a degree. In a perfect world the campaign should cover all based. Bluetooth, wifi, and even and SMS txt response for the coupon! From experience the SMS although the oldest technology would actually get the higher response. The more bases covered the more coupons delivered.
  5. Rachelle Hynes says:

    January 31, 2011 at 11:33pm


    I'm not sure about their particular service, but our wi-fi services works like this:

    Retailers purchase a block of advertising time/day, and the software randomly pushes notification to users walking past a certain zone. It won't overload them with ads, but evenly delivers them over time. The user can also push "Dont show ads again" to disable the couponing.

  6. Rachelle Hynes says:

    January 31, 2011 at 11:29pm

    Interesting, but the Bluetooth technology is quite old-school compared to what's come out recently with Wi-Fi.

    The problem being that not everyone typically uses bluetooth all the time, so they are missing a huge chunk of their market...

    Compared to distributing proximity coupons via Wi-fi.

    We are offering the Wi-fi couponing and have had fantastic feedback!
  7. Samuel Schloenbach says:

    January 31, 2011 at 4:09pm

    No, Joseph!

    The content itself is not that intrusive ad you think it could be. Frst of all people need to have their Bluetooth of their cellphones turned on. After that they will be asked on their cellphone screens if they would like to receive any kind of content from the anouncers. So, people have pretty much the power to choose if they want the branded content or not and that´s great!
  8. Joseph Namzoff says:

    January 31, 2011 at 9:08am

    Does this technology automatically push a message to everyone that comes in the store with their Bluetooth already turned on? Has there been any surveying of cutomers to see what they think? It's very interesting but sounds potentially intrusive.
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