June 13, 2011

Yahoo “Free” Popcorn

Anyone who follows me on Foursquare knows I enjoy free, or almost free, offers from stores, restaurants, shows… heck anything that is within reason.

Case and point, on a recent trip to New York City I was able to get free stuff from the Hershey Chocolate Store in Times Square and at the Broadway Show Billy Elliott. 

To “unlock” those free deals, I used a free social media program called Foursquare.  The process is very simple: You check-in via the Foursquare App, the check-in unlocks the offer, show your phone to cashier and voila!  One click, it is simple.

This weekend, I went to check out Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (a fun movie).  While I passed by and didn’t notice the Yahoo Sign in the lobby, my brother-in-law was not as fortunate.  Lured by the QR Code and the promise of free popcorn, he was hooked.

However, getting the popcorn was not a simple process.  First you scan the QR Code, that sends you to a special webpage.  After you sign-in via Facebook and give them the right to post things on your wall, you then have to “like” the Yahoo Free Popcorn fan page on Facebook, then check-in at Regal Cinema.  At that point, you need to find a knowledgeable popcorn clerk (good luck) who can then grant you the prize.

Based on the cool reception my brother-in-law received, coupled with a rather clueless response from the popcorn clerk and manager, it is clear that not a lot of people have taken advantage of this “free” offer.

The winner in this Free Popcorn offer is clearly “Yahoo”, they get the real estate for promoting their name.  The loser is the customer who gets frustrated and by-passes the expensive artery clogging product… so I guess that makes the loser the winner!?!

Moral of the story: one-click.  Make it simple.


  • Tom- Although I definitely see the pitfalls of Regal’s theater employees not being able to keep up with the mobile promotion, I think this is a huge leap for marketing in the 21st century. yahoo clearly had a great idea getting smartphones involved in instantaneous deals. I don’t think clicking a few steps is difficult enough to call the promotion a “pitfall”. I think they are ahead of the curve and one of the few corporations to try a new mobile promotion of such great visibility.

  • Tom, thanks for the example-including issues to avoid. I think the QR Codes are an amazing tool & hope to use them effectively. I am excited about the possibilitites for our organization, but want to be selective in using them. They are easy to make & useable in more media that I would have thought! Keep writing!

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