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Fashion goes mobile: A kugel’s dream

Posted by: Mobile Kugel

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Mobile Kugel

UK-based fashion retailer, Topshop has joined forces with location-based mobile gaming app SCVNGR to get students into stores for back-to-school shopping.

Upon reading this I have a vision of my girlfriends and me hitting Oxford Street in wedges and oversized sunglasses with a Starbucks Coffee Frappucino in one hand and a cell phone in the other participating in this fashion adventure.

I am interrupted by a cow mooing a few meters away from my Grahamstown apartment window. #FML.


(Anyway) The campaign

The Topshop campaign begins on September 5 2011. Anyone within a 500-meter radius of a Topshop location can play the game via SCVNGR’s apps for iPhone and Android devices.

The campaign is designed to get customers more thoroughly engaged with merchandise.

Players are able to choose the reward be it a 20% in-store discount or a chance to win a £500 shopping spree. They then have to complete various challenges in order to achieve the required number of points.

Players have to, for example, snap a photo of the latest lipstick shades or their favourite back to school outfit based on the seasons trends. 

This is not the first digital and mobile campaign Topshop has embarked on. Last Spring the retailer set up an augmented reality-powered fitting room in its flagship store in Moscow, followed by Instagram-styled photoshoots at outlets in the U.S., UK and Ireland.



With their slogan “Go Places. Do challenges. Earn Points.” it is clear that this social location-based gaming platform for mobile phones is a whole lot of fun.

The app allows for companies, educational institutions, and organizations to build challenges tailor made to their core interests.

To put it simply, SCVNGR is building a game "layer" on top of the world successfully combining real life and gaming.

By going places and doing challenges, players can earn points. They are also able to broadcast where they are and what they're up to to their friends on Facebook and Twitter.

By doing challenges, players can unlock badges and real-world rewards, such as discounts or free items.

According to SCVNGR CEO, Seth Priebatsch, the service is relatively intuitive to first-time users and, unlike location-based social networks it doesn’t require a large existing user base to be successful.



As far as I know, there has been no embrace of this kind of technology in South Africa besides for a few people using Legends of Echo and FourSquare.

According to Communication Chain, Foursquare is the 509th most popular site in South Africa based on a combination of average daily visitors and page views.

1.6% of the Foursquare users come from South Africa and they generate 1.8% of the page views on FourSquare.

In terms of smart phone usage in South Africa, the only major difference is that where the iPhone dominates overseas, the Blackberry dominates the SA market.

In an article written by Rudolph Muller, editor of, earlier this year, Vodacom’s CEO Pieter Uys revealed that Vodacom has around 1-million BlackBerry devices on its network.

This is far more than the number of Vodacom subscribers with iPhones, which sits at 150,000, and Android devices currently at around 100,000.

If it is understood that 66% of all BlackBerry devices sold in South Africa are via Vodacom, this means that there may well be around 1.5-million BlackBerry devices throughout the country.

Furthermore, BlackBerry is also well positioned for future growth.  World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck recently revealed that 24% of consumers claim that their next handset will be a BlackBerry, well above the 3% for Apple’s iPhone.

With this kind of information, I expect to see more local businesses, retailers and fashion outlets to implement innovative campaigns premised on the SCVNGR philosophy.


More examples of Location based mobile competitions

Neiman Marcus, a long established luxury retailer, paired up with mobile gaming startup SCVNGR to encourage shoppers to engage more thoroughly with products in its stores.

The principal was based on the same idea as Topshop’s. A number of prizes complemented a series of challenges using SCVNGR’s iPhone and Android apps. There were three tiers of prizes creating a hierarchy of rewards which would naturally encourage the shopper to play a more competitive game.

Coca-Cola launched also a summer promotion “Happiness in Numbers” with SCVNGER encouraging teams to explore malls, concerts and amusement parks to participate in the game.



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