May 25, 2009
I was watching TV with my grandmother in Colo, IA (population is under 1000 people) last weekend when a locally made TV commercial came on TV advertising mobile coupons at the local grocer – Dahl's. The channel was either ESPN or one of the local networks – I don't remember, but my grandmother only watches the news, sports, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune so we weren't too far down the cable long tail. Most of you probably have Tivo (or DVR) and speed past these locally made commercials – or all commercials. The commercial was reminiscent of one from local car dealers.
Anyway, I couldn't believe that they were advertising coupons on cell phones. I went to their web site, and there was a promotion to join Dahl's Mobile Club. I clicked on the link and was taken to a local radio/TV station web site that read more like a news site sponsored by Dahl's. A banner ad on that page took me to a page where I could enter my phone number and carrier. They advised me that I would receive about one text message per week with a special offer.
The coupons are being powered by Vesta Mobile Solutions. They are based in Baltimore, MD so Dahl's 12 locations in central Iowa are a bit far from home. I'm definitely curious to hear how mobile coupons are going for Dahl's. With the adoption rate so low overall, one doesn't typically imagine much uptake – if Dahl's has numbers anywhere near the national average, their real numbers would be small. However, they are advertising on TV – first I've seen so hopefully this is driving higher adoption levels for them. That is a higher level of commitment than we see from most implementing mobile coupons –