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Subway franchisees ramp up mobile presence via geo-targeted SMS campaign

Select franchisees of fast food chain Subway are targeting hungry consumers and letting them opt-in to an SMS service that pushes offers when they approach a local store.

The company partnered with O2 More for the mobile campaign. Currently, the campaign is running in Britain.

?The Subway core audience tends to be very savvy digitally and so the strategy here is to reach out to this type of customer while they?re out and about near our stores and encourage them to actually walk into the stores,? said Simon Wallwork, Britain-based spokesman for Subway.

?There is also an added function of alerting people to local Subway stores that they might not otherwise know about,? he said. ?This is a test but it could well become a platform for us moving forward.

How it works
The Subway campaign offers consumers a scannable voucher via a text message when they approach a local store.

The O2 Media technology works using geofences, which are set up around Subway stores.

When consumers enter the target area they automatically receive an MMS.

?We wanted to work with O2 because it is such an inspirational brand for consumers and there is a good level of crossover in our target audience,? Mr. Wallwork said.

?They have a forward thinking approach to mobile and digital marketing and are very much leading the field in the geo-fencing technology required for location-based texting campaigns,? he said.

Mobile endeavors
This is not Subway?s first foray into mobile.

In 2009, Subway rolled out a mobile ordering service that lets consumers place sandwich orders while on the go.

The company has partnered with GoMobo for the Subway Now program to target New Yorkers, who can text their orders to short code 466626. Diners get a text back confirming when their order will be ready (see story).

Additionally, last year Subway ran a mobile ad campaign within one of ESPN?s newest applications to promote its Fiery Footlong subs and to build up its consumer database.

The nation's leading sandwich chain signed on as the exclusive launch sponsor of the ESPN Boston application for iPhone and iPod touch. ESPN has five local-based applications that are available on Apple?s iTunes, as is the ESPN Passport application (see story).

?From a marketing point of view, we know that the core Subway audience are using mobile phones to do more and more,? Mr. Wallwork said.

?A large percentage of people searching Subway online are doing so on their mobiles so this certainly seems to be a logical step in our mobile development,? he said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York