China’s mobile ad platform management company, Guohe Ad, took top gold honors at the Mobile Marketing Association “Smarties” competition in China for its two-week “Let’s Merry” campaign that bridged real and virtual holiday worlds.  Some 670,000 people participated in the promotion that called on SMS and LBS to check in and share Starbucks experiences and accumulate points for a Starbucks drink.  The two-week campaign took place in three China provinces and racked up 4.6 million impressions.

Starbucks “Let’s Merry” ads in China business magazine, Business Value, Tweetdeck-like Weico, FourSquare-like Jiepang and calendar app Days Matter prompted users to download a holiday themed app skin that kept users in the Christmas spirit while sharing and checking in with their friends. The campaign included outdoor as well: when enough people checked in to the Starbucks promotion with Jeipang, a giant billboard in Raffles City in Shanghai lit up with special Christmas wishes.

Liana Yu, digital manager of Starbucks Coffee said this is the first time that Starbucks has integrated mobile advertising into their marketing matrix, recognizing the challenge of converting mobile users into actual customers, but the campaign worked with 450,000 users downloading the “Let’s Merry” branded app skin and as many as 21,000 people following Starbucks in a single day.

Guohe won both the Gold Award for Mobile Interaction and Special Gold Award of all categories. This is the very first time that MMA held The Smarties China event.  The gold award winners will compete directly to the The Smarties 2012 Global, introducing their Chinese wireless marketing case studies to the rest of the world.
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