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Dunkin’ Donuts tries to freeze out competition with Coolatta mobile game

Dunkin’ Donuts addresses consumers’ summertime infatuation with baseball, cool drinks and free stuff in a new mobile game giving residents of Massachusetts and New Hampshire a chance to win daily prizes by “scratching” off a virtual Mango Passion Fruit Coolatta drink.

The Sip Into Summer virtual scratch-and-win game is being promoted on Facebook with sponsored posts encouraging consumers to visit the mobile-optimized site for a chance to instantly win tickets to a Red Sox game or concert, among other prizes. Now that the weather is getting warmer, quick-serve restaurant chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks and 7-Eleven are once again pulling out all stops to drive sales of their flavored frozen drinks.

“This year, we have seen a huge increase in the use of mobile gamification tactics like scratch-off and instant win because as an engagement strategy, they work really well,” said Kate Atty, marketing manager at Iris Mobile. “These strategies have proven to be hugely successful for marketers to achieve key goals such as driving in store traffic, building mobile opt in lists and increasing engagement, especially around holidays and store events.

“We have seen many clients use scratch offs as part of their holiday campaigns – and not just the typical shopping holidays like Black Friday,” she said. “For example, Stage Stores used a mobile scratch off during the Easter weekend and saw a 40 percent CTR.

“Adding an element of surprise and entertainment is a great way to get customers to take action with a piece of mobile content, and we have seen proof of success in our clients’ results results time and again.”

Ms. Atty spoke based on her experience in mobile. Iris Mobile is not involved with the campaign.

Dunkin’ Donuts was not able to provide a comment by the press deadline.

A formula that works
Consumers can play the game once a day, helping Dunkin’ Donuts to drive virality and repeat engagement.

The campaign kicked off on May 21, in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and runs through Aug. 28.

When players do not win a prize, they are encouraged to download the mobile app for special offers and to come back and try again.

The scratch-and-win promotion repeats several elements that Dunkin’ Donuts has been leaning on in its mobile marketing of late.

First of all, the campaign leverages a local sports team to pull in consumers in a specific region, something the chain has done before (see story).

The effort also uses an instant win game to drive excitement and address how mobile users are looking for quick, entertaining engagements on their devices. The chain used a similar strategy earlier this year for Valentine’s Day (see story).

Frozen drink wars
In summers past, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-Eleven and others have all aggressively promoted their frozen concoctions.

Each tends to take a slightly different approach for their marketing of these drinks.

Starbucks has previously focused on whimsical messaging to drum up interest in its Frappuccino beverages, leaning heavily on SMS, MMS and social media to drive awareness (see story).

In contrast, 7-Eleven is leveraging its mobile app to encourage engagement and pique consumer interest in Slurpee drinks (see story).

“The success with engaging games that we’ve seen on desktop is moving to the mobile screen,” said Jen Gray, senior vice president of brand, marketing and creative services at HelloWorld. “We’re seeing more brands build robust desktop experiences on mobile because that’s often the first device – especially when you’re asking people to participate in retail and restaurant locations where wait times are involved.

“Mobile is always important because it’s how we run our lives now, but as activity levels increase during the summer, mobile search and social engagement are important for brands looking to capture time with consumers,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York