The Kansas City Star: Use foursquare to Check In at One of Our Vending Machines

Anyone who is part of a social network probably has at least one friend who is on foursquare and completely overdoes it. It’s one thing to check in at the trendy new bar, restaurant, or club, but checking in at train stations, fast-food outlets, and the user’s actual home generally leads to sighing, eye rolls, and, sometimes, feeds being blocked.

This issue doesn’t seem to faze The Kansas City Star, however, as the newspaper teamed up with the location-based mobile app to designate more than 1,600 venues with the tag, “KC Star Newspaper Box,” as well as applying the “Ink Magazine” tag to 1,717 retail locations and 1,575 venues in the metropolitan area.

As part of the initiative, Kansas City Star vending machines have promotional strip cards affixed to them urging people to check in, leading to subscription offers via their mobile phones.

Joe Coleman, the newspaper’s project-management director, said:

We now effectively own a substantial “share of screen” — smart-phone screen, that is. When somebody checks-in at the local Panera Bread, AMC Theater, or McDonalds, they can also see a close-by Kansas City Star rack on their screen. We get a brand impression, and if they also check in at our single-copy outlet, we have the opportunity for a sale and the chance to offer a subscription deal as a special just for foursquare users.

Evans Media Group was the social-media agency that got the Star and foursquare together, and its president and chief marketing officer, Paul Evans, said:

Providing cross-promotional and co-branding opportunities to advertisers is the golden egg here. foursquare and other location-based social-media users are attracted to offers that are unique to them. With so many venues throughout the metro, The Star is in an enviable position from an advertising standpoint. Bus stops may be the only other match for a newspaper when it comes to physical locations, and nobody is looking to partner with a bus stop.

Evans Media Group managing partner and chief technical officer Sara Paxton added;

foursquare is just over one year old, but it already boasts more than 3 million users, amassing over 18 million check-ins since inception. It is yet to be seen if Facebook Places will overtake foursquare in popularity, but as of yet, the only way to upload a venue on this newest player in the game is with a mobile device, so adding multiple venues would be quite tedious.