ADOTAS – Every time the band hits the road, I promise myself a double Whopper with cheese. Maybe I’m nostalgic for my gluttonous childhood, but once I hit the highways I crave those two “flame-broiled” patties on a toasted bun with all the fix’ns (but no pickles), along with a “king-size” order of those wonderful fries and an extra large… Diet Coke. Yes, I’m one of those people.
However, many a time, the band van has chugged past highway exit after exit, desperately seeking a Burger King to no avail — when the growling of our stomachs grows louder than the road mix (Track 1: “Cars” by Gary Numan) sometimes we have to settle with Wendy’s. It’s just not the same.
But no more settling for square burgers! Lamar Advertising, best known for outdoor advertising (e.g., billboards), has moved into mobile with the just-launched RoadNinja app for the iPhone. Powered by Foursquare, the location-based app for interstate travelers informs consumers on the open road what kind of gas, food and lodging is at upcoming exits (even as far as 3,000 miles away). I will never hopelessly search for a Burger King again!
Six default categories are listed for each exit, but users can customize types of business shown with 25 additional options. In addition, RoadNinja works in social tools through ratings, reviews and Foursquare check-ins. A Facebook integration allows for easy sharing of reviews and photos to the social network.
Of course, the app is handy for retail marketers as well, which can promote their retail stops and even offer location-based discounts and deals in real-time through the Promotions section. Brands can even link their Twitter feeds to their various locations. Retailers that use Lamar’s outdoor advertising actually get free promotions within the app — Jason’s Deli is the first to take advantage of this feature.
In an interesting twist on using traditional marketing to promote a mobile service, Lamar is using 1,000 of the digital and static billboards it manages across 200 America marketplaces to promote the app — in interesting ways. A RoadNinja billboard in Baton Rouge was “attacked” by throwing stars. Bayou ninjas are out of control.
On a side note, it’s interesting that Foursquare is the engine behind this app — has the location-based mobile social network found a new revenue stream in socializing branded apps?