Hot on the heels of Facebook Places, foursquare and Groupon Now, telecoms giant O2 has launched its own location-based cloud voucher scheme in the UK.
For O2 customers only, the new service – ‘Priority Moments  ’ – is backed by a £6 million campaign and offers deals from 30 major high street brands, covering 3,500 locations around the country. According to O2, users could save up to £105 if they take advantage of every tailored offer that pings up in their inbox.
Indeed, compared  to other deals doing the rounds, O2’s are pretty generous: half price cinema tickets compared to just 40 per cent off at Vouchercloud, or £10 for two mains at Zizzi with a free glass of fizz, compared to £12 for food only elsewhere.
Everyone loves a good deal, so it’s not surprising that the free app (for iPhone and Android) has shot straight to the top of the download charts  – even before its official launch tomorrow (26 July). However, considering Priority Moments’ £6 million launch budget, O2 has made some pretty rookie marketing errors with it so far.
Last week, for example, O2 staff were found to be hijacking  the Priority Moments iPhone app reviews (known as ‘astroturfing’), boosting its average customer rating up to five stars. No doubt O2 are not the only brand to have engaged in this practice before (although only a few cases are ever reported  ), but the employees involved would have done well to at least try to cover their tracks. Take this review from ‘Stu_4_U’:
“Brilliant! VIP. [sic] Access at Gatwick Airport, free food, free drink (as much as I can…) Wow! O2 you are my hero Thanks.”
Alas, ‘Stu_4_U’ is also the Twitter handle for Stuart Maciever, O2’s consumer Customer Lifecycle, Revenue and Communications lead. Nice one, Stu.
Unperturbed, O2 then set about promoting  Priority Moments through Twitter. O2 asked its followers to create some noise about the new service, and once it was loud enough, O2 would reveal a phone number. The first person to ring that number would win a new phone. O2 got as far as revealing nine digits of the phone number and then only gave away the full number in replies to other Twitter users, meaning that nearly every other follower wouldn’t have seen it and had no chance of winning. Charmingly, anyone complaining about this was told it must have been a problem at their end  . The ‘glitch’ was rectified for subsequent giveaways, but not before some wry-minded followers piggybacked  #O2PriorityMoments for their own purposes.
But despite the sloppy promotion, the service is proving popular, as evidenced by the prime spot in the download chart. Indeed, they must be doing something right, as MyVoucherCodes.co.uk Chairman, Mark Pearson, seems to have gotten a bit sulky  over it all. “It is a shame that it lacks volumes in terms of actual vouchers, has a far smaller number of shops and retailers than others in this area such as the market leading MyVoucherCodesApp,” he lamented. “And worst of all, is only open to O2 customers.” Ouch!
- ^ Priority Moments (blog.o2.co.uk)
- ^ compared (crave.cnet.co.uk)
- ^ top of the download charts (www.brandrepublic.com)
- ^ hijacking (www.marketingweek.co.uk)
- ^ reported (arstechnica.com)
- ^ promoting (www.bitterwallet.com)
- ^ their end (twitter.com)
- ^ piggybacked (twitter.com)
- ^ bit sulky (www.lifeofandroid.com)