Foursquare’s new check-in ads may be annoying, but they’re also really smart

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Image Credit: Jswaby
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This might sound a bit crazy, but Foursquare is doing mobile advertising very right.

Over the past few weeks, the company has been testing its new check in promotions, which appear after users check into certain locations. As Ad Age reports, one of the first brands taking advantage of the promotions is Captain Morgan rum, which, in one example, will press people to order a “Captain and cola” when they check into bars. (Smirnoff will join the rum brand next month.)


Above: This might be a tenuous connection, but it can only get better.

Foursquare is also taking things a bit further by using its ads to promote deals related to your current check-in. In one example, Foursquare offered coupons for Toys ‘R’ Us when users checked into a local pool. You can both save and e-mail these offers, giving them a longer shelf life than they would otherwise have.

While the whole thing sounds like it will get really annoying really quickly (“You just checked into Arby’s — why not buy some antacid?”), these new ads could be supremely relevant. If Foursquare knows you’re in a bar (because, er, you told it so), it’s in a really good position to pitch you things you might be interested in. And this approach makes a lot more sense than sending all Foursquare users the same Taco Bell promotion– something that I’ve criticized Foursquare for in the past.

So, yes, these Foursquare ads might be a bit of a pain, but mobile advertising can be far worse.

VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.