By Steve Outing
I can’t imagine this is new, but it’s the first time I’ve gone to a restaurant and received a coupon at the table prompting me to use my cell phone to get a free item. Last night when my family and I went to Beau Jo’s Pizza in Boulder, we each got the coupon above. Send a text message to the address printed with the special code, and you get back a text message showing you what you’ve won, which you show to your waiter/waitress.
With our two phones between us, we had two chances and both got free salsa and chips. (To go with pizza? We passed on our “winnings.”) But some lucky texting diners might win a $100 gift certificate at the restaurant.
I hardly think this is the state of the art for mobile coupons, but it does work, whether the diner has the latest iPhone 3GS or an old brick or flip phone. It reminded me that to effectively use mobile (for advertising and promotions or for editorial purposes), you don’t have to get super sophisticated. The uncomplicated phone text message can be an effective mechanism that serves everyone, vs. an iPhone app that has a (large but) limited audience.