Facebook may be teaming with McDonald’s, but Foursquare refuses to be outdone in adding big brands to its portfolio. Starbucks is increasing their partnership with Foursquare by offering a mayor special at select locations across the US from May 17 through June 28. Mayors will receive $1 off a Frappuccino beverage by showing the unlock screen on their phone to the barista.
Starbucks is a frequent experimenter in the social media space, with a heavy presence on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Foursquare and Starbucks have previously teamed to offer the Barista badge to users who check in to five or more Starbucks locations. At that time the NY Times’ Bits Blog reported Starbucks was excited about Foursquare because â€œitâ€™s where the intersection between digital and physical starts to get interesting,â€ said Chris Bruzzo, vice president for brand, content and online at Starbucks. â€œStarbucks loves that, because weâ€™re always looking for that intersection, which we think is the evolution of social networks.â€
The biggest problem I see with this initiative is that Starbucks employees are not prevented from holding the mayorship of their stores. For instance, at one local Starbucks the mayor is an employee with 40 checkins over the past two months. It would be almost impossible for an honest-to-goodness customer to become mayor of that venue and unlock the mayor special. Starbucks has claimed most of their stores as the owner, but they haven’t added any of the local employees as staff, which would prevent them from holding the mayorship.
Starbucks becomes the largest major national chain to offer a mayor special nationwide. Partnering with Starbucks will certainly help propel Foursquare use into the mainstream as users at more than 11,000 locations will be exposed to the Foursquare concept for an extended period of time.
UPDATE (5/16 11:15 pm): The special is now live on Starbucks’ venue pages: