Coupon App’s Ambitious Holiday Campaign Uses Everything From Snapchat to Celebs

RetailMeNot raises its profile

Experienced Black Friday shoppers probably know RetailMeNot as a coupon hub, but like most mobile players, it wants to be known as a one-stop shopping app with features like rebates and location-based deals. So the Austin, Texas-based company is launching an ambitious holiday campaign that includes TV, influencers and social media.

"We're trying to build awareness—not just as a coupon destination, but as an end-to-end customer shopping journey," said Marissa Tarleton, CMO of RetailMeNot. "We have an awareness target that we're trying to build in social media, but we also have media that reinforces app engagement and media that drives commerce in-store."

The Snapchat piece of the campaign is particularly intriguing since it uses the ephemeral app's recently launched geofilters feature, which lets brands buy sponsored graphics that users can overlay on their Snaps. Starting next Wednesday, RetailMeNot will run ads around 3,000 U.S. shopping malls—Snapchat users who step inside can play around with four branded graphics.

While people aren't able to directly download the app from Snapchat, the "goal is to get the brand more top-of-mind," Tarleton said.

"We already leverage social media from an awareness perspective, so this [is an] opportunity to geo-fence certain malls and identify customers as they're entering the malls who are engaging with Snapchat already," Tarleton said.

RetailMeNot declined to say how much the holiday campaign cost but said it's a significant portion of its annual spend, since one-third of the site's yearly traffic comes from the fourth quarter. The app averages 18.6 million mobile unique visitors each month.

In addition to Snapchat, here are five other tactics the shopping app is using to drive holiday downloads.

1. Print ads in 100 malls
Promos around stores and on escalators in 100 General Growth Properties-owned malls like New York's Staten Island Mall and Los Angeles' Glendale Galleria encourage folks to download the app. If they download it while in the mall, location-based push notifications show nearby deals tailored to a shopper's preferences.

2. National TV and radio spots
Starting later this month, RetailMeNot will run a national TV spot plugging the app as well as 15- and 30-second radio ads on Sirius and iHeartRadio.

3. New York buses and billboards
New York is the center of holiday shopping, so RetailMeNot bought an ad on the Nasdaq Marquee in Times Square. There are also double-decker buses wrapped in RetailMeNot ads.

4. Celebrity tie-ins
RetailMeNot has tapped actress Rumer Willis and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi to be part of the campaign.

5. Giving back
A campaign dubbed Save it Forward encourages shoppers to perform a random act of kindness—like buying someone else's coffee—this year while also spreading the word about the app.

For each photo shared on social media with the hashtag #SaveItForward, RetailMeNot is donating to the Boys & Girls Club of America.