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The Cellfire team are off to McDonalds

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Remember Cellfire won best consumer messaging application at CTIA last week? Well, I’ve got more news from them.

They’ve launched a mobile coupon marketing effort with McDonalds across greater Utah this month. If you find yourself in that area of the States, you can use your mobile to get a free iced coffee coupon.

The campaign, to promote McDonald’s new iced coffee, is live across a whopping 113 McDonalds restaurants across Utah, western Wyoming and eastern Nevada.

To participate, you simply need to download the Cellfire application to your phone and you’ll be able to bring up the coupon. To get the download link, you just text ‘mcd’ to 22888. You just show the coupon/offer on your phone to the chap behind the counter and you qualify.

I’m pleased to read more and more of these kinds of efforts, particularly in the rather ‘mobile backward’ United States. Bring it on. I hope it works well for both Cellfire, McDonald’s and the consumer.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

10 replies on “The Cellfire team are off to McDonalds”

It’s great and all, but “…simply need to download the Cellfire application to your phone…”, man, first Asia and since Europe have shown that that just doesnt work. In the States? You’ve got to be having a laugh. If it’s not an SMS solution, it’s born to fail. Seriously, don’t you agree?

alfie’s last blog post..Ping.fm SMS – UK Hack

Well I’d like to wait and see Alfie. Americans are huge, huge coupon cutters. I think this kind of thing could be phenomenally popular for some market segments .. .*ONCE* you’ve got the application.

*Getting* the application on the handset is, I’m sure, a big challenge.

“a big challenge”?

By all accounts, and by accounts I mean the proven and mature markets of Asia and Europe – IMPOSSIBLE! People might download and play games, but apps?Almost never, especially ones which arent either pre-loaded or foisted on users via the deck.

Who uses coupons in the States? Poor people. Yes, Poor People. I’m not being a dick, it’s just a fact. So how many people on a below average income do *you* know who bother with the mobile internet, here in Europe?

Bugger all I’m sure. Also, what does this ‘application’ that they have to download *do*!? Seriously! Other than getting their details and giving them a free burger, why!? Isn’t it more valuable to have the ‘interested in using a coupon’ person’s MSISDN than it is in asking them to download something, which 9 times out of ten the user won’t even have ‘net settings for?

I’m happy to wait and see, but like you and your pessimism for Nokia’s ‘Tube’ phone, I ain’t counting sheep over it.

alfie’s last blog post..10 year old paedophiles, welcome to the future

I reckon it’s a culture thing Alfie. People over here buy huge big coupon books. For fun. They love it. I think an application centric model could work. I agree it’s painful, hugely painful, getting someone who only uses their RAZR to call and text, to download an application.. but I think they might be successful. I think the end-draw – the coupons — might actually be enough to keep consumers interested enough to go through the rigmarole.

Alfie, you have to understand the US market and that is, we more or less don’t like to use SMS. We don’t get to receive them for free.

On the subject of mobile coupons, a few weeks ago my wife and I were at the book store and decided to purchase a book as a gift, unfortunately my wife forgot to bring along the coupon she received via email. So what do I do, whip out my Nokia N95 and get into her email find the coupon, and bring up the bar code on the screen. The women behind the counter was shocked and thought it was the coolest thing she had ever seen. We got the 20% discount and technology saved us some money.

Thanks for the response Jeb, and I fully get your point on not being able to receive SMS for free. That however is only relevant in the US to receiving SMS from other consumers, at the SMSC point, the cost of sending/receiving can be borne by the marketer sending the message. I think you’re really saying two things:

1) the average US user doesn’t like to use SMS

2) Being an uber mobile geek helped you use a coupon “…what do I do, whip out my Nokia N95…We got the 20% discount and technology saved us some money.”

on 1),10 billion messages from one network alone in 2007 doesn’t exactly bear that supposition out. Yeah the US is new to SMS, but what Cellfire are doing isn’t about SMS, at least in the way I’m thinking about it, it’s about how difficult it is to install an application on a mobile, and what better ways there are to engage a consumer in a way that they’ll actually be able to use your product, whilst the marketer/brand also gets something out of the interaction.

This isn’t a question of SMS delivery/actuation really, this is a question of practicality in using a coupon. Despite Americans apparently not “liking” SMS, almost all handsets in the US are preconfigured for this protocol, whilst WAP or other internet access is almost never ‘out of the box’. From a marketing and usage POV, SMS works, heck, even a stripped down web app is a better bet than an app you have to download, and then allow JAVA read/write access to!!

on 2) – I don’t know what you’re trying to say here. How does you being an uber mobile geek relate to < $20k salaried American mobile users using coupons at Mcdonalds?

alfie’s last blog post..10 year old paedophiles, welcome to the future

Alfie – I totally agree with you on the downloading of the application. I just did an interview with a competitor to Cellfire (who has distributed mobile coupons for Best Buy, Red Lobster and many other large stores) that is dead-set on text messaging.

Reason? They are familiar with the EXACT things you brought up. The owner of the company is International; they’ve experienced the Europe and Asia markets.

Where I completely disagree with you is the use of coupons in the United States. Studies have shown that AFFLUENT customers are just as likely, sometimes MORE likely to use coupons than poor people. The difference relies on the type of store offering a discount. Consider Saks Fifth Ave. Red Lobster. Best Buy. Not typical places for the lower income population to frequent, coupon or not.

In fact, just yesterday I had lunch with a multi-millionaire. She was excited that Belk was having a sale and was taking several of her friends.

It’s weird psychology, but saving money is important to everyone. 🙂

Restaurant Revolution’s last blog post..Restaurant Street Signs: Text, Color and Marquee

Restaurant Revolution’s got it right — We’re all cheap, even when we’re super-rich.
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But hey, anything that gives American normobs momentum to try the mobile internet gets my support!

I reckon Coupon Cuisine would go down a storm over here!

Alfie — check out the number of people in the UK who receive information, often daily, from Hot UK Deals, MySupermarket and (at the top of the pile) MoneySavingExpert.
I’d expect a huge segment would gladly download an app that offered targeted, local deals and offers!

HeavyLight’s last blog post..O2 rebrand cock-up shock!

First, Cellfire believes strongly in the ubiquity and ease of use of SMS text messaging and make use of mobile originating (MO) and mobile terminating (MT) SMS text for our service through our universal short code 22888–mostly to sign up new registrants and periodically alert opt-in users of new merchants/offers. However, we do not believe text is the ideal platform for distributing dozens of location-targeted coupons and discount offers to consumers.

Text message coupons are both expensive and hard to manage when you consider how many messages you might receive. Cellfire has relationships with hundreds of merchants and our offers are accepted at over 10,000 participating locations nationwide and growing. Most merchants provide multiple offers (e.g. Hollywood Video has two offers) and the offers are updated on a frequent basis. We target our offers based on your location but a given location may have dozens of offers. Imagine the inconvenience and cost of receiving dozens of text messages that you may or may not find relevant at the time. Which brings us to the next challenge

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