Even though many location-based social networks continue to struggle to find mainstream adoption, more and more big brands are hopping on the bandwagon now and are experimenting with how to best use these services for their purposes. Disney and Gowalla announced a partnership yesterday and Foursquare announced a deal with Pepsi and Safeway’s Vons stores earlier this morning. Not to be left out, SCVNGR also just announced a deal with one of the world’s most recognizable brands: Coca Cola.
SCVNGR and Coke
Coke, of course, is not directly tied to a location, so the two companies are also working with a group of 10 large malls, including the Burlington Mall in Burlington, MA, the Florida Mall in Orlando, FL and the Mall of Georgia in Buford, GA. Unlike most location-based social networks today, SCVNGR’s game mechanics are not just based around checking in, but also around performing specific challenges at a given location. For this partnership, a set of “Coke Secret Formula Challenges” will give SCVNGR users the ability to win mall gift cards and Coke merchandise.
Foursquare and Pepsi
Foursquare’s integration with Safeway’s Vons stores and their partnership with Pepsi is a bit more intricate. Foursquare’s users can now link their accounts to their Vons loyalty and automatically check in every time they use their card at one of Vons’ stores.
For brands that are not tied to specific locations, both the Foursquare/Pepsi deal and SCVNGR/Coke deal make perfect sense, especially given that both of them also work with specific shopping outlets (Safeway and Simon Malls). This gives companies like Coke the opportunity to test the waters of location-based marketing and the location services get access to a new group of potential clients and advertisers. What remains to be seen, though, is if these deals can help bring these services to a more mainstream audience.