Wendy's new ad sizzle: Text-message coupons

R u redy 4 hotnjuicy txt coupons? Wendy's fast food chain announced a new cell-phone text-message coupon program in the Northeast. To take advantage of the program customers just sign up, then discounts with a UPC bar code will flash onto their mobile devices. Customers can then show the bar code on their cell phones to a Wendy's cashier to redeem the offers, reports say.

The program will be available at select Wendy's locations before the company extends it to other parts of the country, Scott Frohman, CEO of the Options Media Group Holdings, told the Chicago Tribune and Columbus Dispatch. Options Media is the Florida-based email marketer running the program.
Wendy's isn't the only big fast food franchise to embrace some high-tech marketing sizzle. Options Media is also working with Domino's Pizza on a cell-phone coupon drive, according to BrandWeek, and 7-Eleven has launched its own soon-to-expire effort in San Diego.

Wendy's, the third largest burger outlet, known in ads for its "Hot 'n Juicy" square burgers, hopes to seize on a growing medium. Thirty percent of cell-phone users already have participated in some sort of mobile marketing program, the trend-spotting firm eMarketer says. Spending on mobile-phone campaigns is expected to reach $1.56 billion by 2013, according to Forrester Research, another marketing consultant.

Wendy's new program is an "opt-in"m promotion, meaning customers must consent to receiving coupons and advertisements for discounts at Wendy's locations.

Coupon advertising via portable devices began appearing from many traditional advertisers in the latter part of this decade. In 2005, McDonald's tried texting coupons to boost sales of its McFlurry dessert in the West. In 2008, the Golden Arches launched another text-coupon program to introduce its iced coffee.

Recent statistics support the strategy. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed by Forrester Research in 2008 gave the thumbs-up to text advertising as opposed to 20 percent in 2006, according to BrandWeek.

"We found from past campaigns that text messaging-based incentives work very well," Options Media's Frohman said in BrandWeek. "Consumers tend to look at text messages quicker than e-mail, so it's an instant result."
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