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Wendy's Serves Up Mobile Coupons

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Fast food chain Wendy's International is rolling out a mobile coupon campaign, in partnership with Options Media Group Holdings, a services provider for on-demand e-mail marketing.

Restaurant patrons in the Northeast are now able to opt in for mobile coupons and ads, and in return, they get discounts at select Wendy's locations. According to Options Media's CEO Scott Frohman, the coupons are received via text messaging and can be redeemed on mobile devices when presented to cashiers. 

"We found from past campaigns that text messaging-based incentives work very well. Consumers tend to look at text messages quicker than e-mail, so it's an instant result for [the brand]," said Frohman. "And it's something that's very beneficial to the consumer."

Frohman said Options Media has a similar partnership with Domino's, and the company is working with other fast food chains and hoteliers on mobile coupon efforts.

Earlier this month, 7-Eleven launched a mobile marketing campaign in San Diego. Through Dec. 31, the convenience store chain is offering a free beverage to consumers who send a text message with the word "FAST" to "72579." Like in Wendy's case, 7-Eleven patrons have to show a UPC bar code to redeem the coupon at a cash register.

Consumers seem to be warming up to the idea of mobile ads and related promotions. According to Forrester Research, 80 percent of consumers were opposed to mobile ads in 2006, compared to 61 percent in 2008. Younger consumers are the most open to the idea. Frohman agreed with the findings: "I'm very surprised how many consumers opt in to receive offers on their mobile phones. The interest has definitely grown over the years."