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VH1, Foursquare launch mobile sweeps initiative

Viacom-owned entertainment network VH1 launched a location-based mobile targeting initiative July 26 through social network Foursquare.

Consumers who follow VH1 on Foursquare can use the GPS-enabled application to check in at more than 10,000 music venues in the Foursquare database, including rock clubs and concert halls throughout the US. They can earn the “VH1 Fanatic Badge” in the process.

After unlocking the badge, consumers enter into “VH1’s Unlock it to Rock it Sweepstakes,” which will run through October 10. Winners will receive VIP access to unlimited concerts for a full year at the venue of their choice.

“We feel like location-based networks are going to be the next big thing,” said Noah Vadnai, VP of VH1 Mobile.

The network is targeting consumers on a regional basis with the program, said Stephanie Werner, VP of VH1 promotions and partnerships. “This is a perfect fit [for us] because we’re going to get the word out there about great music and what’s happening at local venues,” she said.

Consumers can receive tips from VH1 “You Oughta Know” series’ featured artists Taylor Locke, from the band Rooney, and Casey McPherson, from the group Alpha Rev, as well as Jim Shearer, host of the network’s Top 20 Video Countdown.

VH1 created the badge to develop a healthy following on social networks, such as Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook, but it also considers a substantial database valuable for future campaigns, Vadnai said. “So, to have upwards of 30,000 or 40,000 people on Foursquare and watch that number grow and get scale, that lets us get creative on the next promo we may do to tie into this.”

The cable channel is targeting early adopters of technology who can become brand influencers for VH1, Vadnai said. In this regard, the campaign is both an acquisition and retention play.

“The concept of driving foot traffic is a good one. [Foursquare’s] total audience is small, so [there is] not much reach, but there may be enough to satisfy marketers looking for reach into a niche group of mostly younger mobile phone users,” said Julie Ask, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research.

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