In "wow, that's actually a great idea" news, a German pet food company, GranataPet, has found an interesting way to market its product - free samples via Foursquare check-in.
Dog users in countries where GranataPet is available (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) that check-in to certain dog food billboards will have a free sample dispensed to a small bowl attached to the sign. The way this works is servers continuously poll for check-ins and trigger the food dispenser when it notices someone new. Dogs can then get a taste of GranataPet's product and owners can then spend the rest of their lives trying to pull their dogs away from the streets where the billboards are located.
This has been tried before in the States, when last year nonprofit environmental firm EarthJustice placed ads in San Francisco transit stations. The ads said that with every check-in on Foursquare, the firm would make a $10 donation to help an endangered species. Cute. But it's not food.
Sure, something like this is a novelty. People will go out of their way to try it once, but what are the chances it could actually promote brand loyalty? The possibilities are far greater if a company were to apply this model to food for humans. Free Snickers bar with your first check-in to a certain movie theater? Flav-o-rich offering free Popsicles for check-ins on a hot New York street? Sure, Foursquare already allows businesses to offer deals for 1st time check-ins and for mayorships, but a deal is not the same at something free popping out of a billboard. And that, my friends, is pretty cool.
Check out this video about the GranataPet dog food billboards: