McDonald’s Testifies to Foursquare’s Power — UPDATED


foursquare_smallADOTAS – Updated, Friday 12:05 a.m.: McDonald’s Social Media Head Rick Wion told me on Twitter: “To clarify, the 33% increase was in the number of check-ins. We consider check-ins the same as a person entering the restaurant.”

Ever since Facebook Places arrived, my less technology-friendly friends have been asking me what this Foursquare thing is and why they would want to check in wherever they go.

“Well, with Foursquare, if you check in at a store or restaurant more than anyone else, you become mayor,” I reply.

“So?” they say in chorus.

“So…” Here I get a little flustered, but I regain my composure. “So you can also get coupons.”

“That’s it?” they sigh.

But don’t underestimate that value — McDonald’s certainly doesn’t after a one-day $1,000 campaign increased Foursquare check-ins by 33%. Hoping to capitalize on the excitement surrounding “Foursquare Day” on April 16, McDonald’s partnered with the celebration’s organizers and spread the word that 100 $5 and $10 gift cards would be randomly given by consumers checking in.

The fast food giant recorded more than 50 articles written about the deal, 600,000 new Foursquare followers and 99% positive feedback. In addition to the daily 33% increase in Foursquare check-ins, McDonald’s noted a 40% uptick for the week.

It was the new guy’s idea — Rick Wion, who had started in the position of social media head a few weeks before Foursquare Day, shared the findings at the Mobile Social Communications conference yesterday.

Wion was unable to share the results of a guerrilla social media campaign employed four days later on April 20, but I can tell you I personally have never eaten so many McDonald’s french fries in my life. I was so hungry — damn that Maui Wowie.


  1. Gavin,

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m the co-author of Guerrilla Social Media Marketing with Jay Conrad Levinson. We’d like to connect via email. What’s the best way to contact you.


    Shane Gibson


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