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Cosi takes mobile gaming to next level with in-store redemption

Restaurant chain Cosi is engaging consumers with a unique mobile sweepstakes that requires consumers to bring mobile or print game pieces to a Cosi location.

The “Fall into Cosi” campaign asks consumers to bring in their mobile device to a Cosi store or print out a game piece via a microsite to see if they won one of several prizes, including a grand prize trip for two to Paris. The campaign is running through Oct. 31 and is powered by ePrize.

“The goal is to promote our fall limited-time menu, including the BBQ pork and cheddar melt, the apple crunch chicken salad and, on the East Coast only, the lobster cobb salad,” said Marc Lapides, director of marketing at Cosi, Deerfield, IL. “We’re using the sweeps as a way to raise awareness of those offerings, while giving consumers a reason to come in-store and maybe try one of those items.

“France is known for great bread,” he said. “The original Cosi was in Paris. We are using the trip to Paris as a way to remind consumers of our heritage – and thus our great flatbread.”

Fall into Cosi
The Fall into Cosi is a multichannel sweepstakes that can be activated by a Web or mobile site, The campaign celebrates the new items on Cosi’s fall menu.

When consumers either show a game piece on the mobile site or a print version in a Cosi restaurant, a decoder screen will reveal whether or not the consumers have won. By requiring consumers to come to the restaurant, the campaign inherently drives foot traffic.

“Some consumers will come just to see if they’ve won a prize,” Mr. Lapides said. “However, with our great menu and appealing environments, we think we can convince many of them to stay and eat.”

Entrants have a chance to win one of 1,000 $5 Cosi gift cards in addition to the grand prize trip to Paris.

Consumers can enter by linking to their Facebook account or filling out their name, email address and birth date. They also have the option to receive notifications of exclusive offers via email or SMS.

To promote the campaign, Cosi is leveraging street teams to hand out game pieces in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Boston.

Mobile gaming
Cosi is joining a number of different companies in the mobile gaming space.

For instance, Bud Light Platinum recently created a scavenger hunt that blends the real world with mobile and social to give fans a chance to win a Platinum Nights trip to see Justin Timberlake perform (see story).

Buffalo Wild Wings also used mobile gaming to drive foot traffic in its fantasy football game app that required consumers to play in-store to be eligible for prizes (see story).

“Mobile campaigns with gamification elements are a proven way to drive consumer traffic to restaurant locations and retail stores,” said Sara Kowal, vice president of innovation at ePrize, Detroit, MI. “By giving participants clear incentives to visit the store to determine whether they are a winner, Cosi is able to boost the visibility of its new fall menu.

“To effectively engage today’s digitally-savvy customers, brands must rely on mobile to create a deeper connection along the path to purchase,” she said. “Consumers are already using mobile for utilitarian purposes, but providing new ways to engage via games, loyalty and CRM are going to be critical to deepening the relationship.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York