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McDonald's uses mobile coupons for new product

Fast food giant McDonald's Corp. is using mobile coupons in parts of the western United States timed with the launch of its new iced coffee beverage.

The promotion, enabled by Cellfire, offers consumers free ice coffee when they use mobile coupons at participating McDonald's locations. This is a common ploy used by Cellfire's clients in the quick-service restaurant category, of which McDonald's is part.

"They're looking to drive traffic and to drive awareness and trial of this iced coffee," said Dwight Moore, vice president of corporate marketing at Cellfire, San Jose, CA. "The iced coffee is new to the Utah market, but it's been launched elsewhere."

The McDonald's mobile phone discount promotion runs in 113 restaurants across Utah, western Wyoming and eastern Nevada.

Participation is simple. Consumers download the Cellfire application to their mobile phone to receive the free iced coffee offer and future promotions at participating McDonald's restaurants.

Essentially, they visit the site at or by texting "mcd" to 22888 through their phone. The Cellfire discounts are then automatically uploaded to their phone. They get the free iced coffee when they show the offer on the phone when ordering at McDonald's.

No purchase is necessary to participate in this promotion.

The promotion runs through April 27.

Cellfire's service differs from other providers of text-based offers. Its application-based service automatically delivers coupons directly to consumers based on their geographic footprint.

So, Cellfire users are given a unique redemption code that is shown at the time of the transaction. Consumers click on the coupon they want to use and show it to the sales clerk for redemption.

Cellfire regularly adds new offers. Its client base includes Hollywood Video, Enterprise Rent A Car, Sears Portrait Studio and Supercuts. The company also has a significant clientele in the quick-service restaurants category, with brands such as Taco Bueno, Hardee's, Wiener Schnitzel and Extreme Pita.

This is Cellfire's first work for McDonald's.

Based in Oak Brook, IL, McDonald's is the world's No. 1 fast food chain, whose 30,000 restaurants daily serve burgers, fries and beverages to an estimated 50 million customers across 100 countries. Independent franchisees run 70 percent of McDonald's restaurants.

"Quick-service restaurants continues to be a very strong category for mobile coupons," Mr. Moore said.

"QSRs look to drive traffic and loyalty and it's a natural fit with our core demographic -- 18-34 -- tending to be a very ideal sweetspot for QSRs," he said. "These people are on-the-go. They have their phone with them and so mobile coupons is a natural vehicle."