Redbox and Foursquare: A Match Made in Marketing Heaven

The award for “why hasn’t this existed before?” goes to Redbox and Foursquare partnering up to allow customers to check in at kiosks. This partnership was announced on Thursday, August 11, 2011 and is one of the largest retail integrations for Foursquare.

In order to use Foursquare, customers must have a GPS-enabled smartphone which allows users to tell their friends where they are on their social media accounts, to find other friends nearby, and to rate products or services at local businesses and tap into special deals (more on the latter a bit later). Redbox has over 27,800 rental kiosks found across the country and currently Foursquare has 10 million registered users. They have also partnered up with American Express and Groupon to get their name out there to prospective customers in new markets.

The number of location-based app users more than doubled from 2010 to 2011.

The number of location-based app users more than doubled from 2010 to 2011.

These geo-location apps are a natural marketing fit for small, independent businesses who wish to draw new customers from the local community. According to a survey by Forrester Research Inc. in July 2010, it was reported that only 4% of all internet users in the US (around 8 million people) had ever used a location-based mobile app. However, by the next year in May, another survey by ComScore Inc. saw that nearly 17 million cellphone users had used a check-in service in March of that year alone. Sixty percent of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 34, which makes sense if you consider that the typical Redbox user falls into that age bracket.

Redbox already has a mobile integration strategy that plays an important role in their business model. Their iPhone and Android apps allow customers to check out real-time availability of titles at their nearest kiosk. With their apps, it’s even possible to reserve DVDs or games for pick-up later that day. This makes sense since people have a habit of carrying their smartphones with them everywhere. Why not have your brand and company right there, too?

To promote this new partnership, Redbox will be running a 10-day promotion beginning August 15 that will give customers daily discount codes (worth between 10 cents and $1.00 – remember though, each rental is only $0.99 a night) when they check into a kiosk using Foursquare. Ideally, this will create more buzz for Redbox and help Foursquare grow into new consumer markets.

Even though I do not have a smartphone and therefore don’t use Foursquare, I still think this is a great idea for both companies. Foursquare is trying to expand their brand and grow into new markets and Redbox is hoping to attract more followers following Netflix’s recent changes in pricing. It seems to be a match made in heaven, but we’ll have to wait and see how this turns out for both companies.

What do you think? Yay or nay for this partnership? Can you think of any other partnerships between companies that were a success (or a complete and utter failure)? Sound off below!

Amy Hoidas

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ Community Manager. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can also connect with Amy on


  1. Mandy Kilinskis

    I’ve expressed a few times how I have a the real fear of using “check in” applications and thus having all of my stuff stolen. However, if I know that someone is at home guarding my stuff, I might use Foursquare to check in for a Redbox coupon. My mother is a Redbox fiend and will probably demand that I do so.

    Regardless of my fear, though, this is seriously a brilliant idea. Foursquare and Redbox will, I imagine, see a huge increase in users.

    • JPorretto

      I also have this fear. I’d honestly rather give YOUR mother a dollar to get the redbox movie than check in somewhere…. =)

      • amy

        I totally agree with you two!

        • Amanda

          Agreed. I’m not quite ready for everyone I know to know where I am at all times–and thereby also know that no one is at my house. But this is a really neat idea! I think it sounds like they will both gain from combining services.

          • amy

            Combining these two services makes sense to me too. The Redbox that I go to usually has a line when I get there, so while people wait why not “check in” and receive a coupon from anywhere between 10% off to a free movie rental? I can’t wait to see what the results from this partnership are 🙂

  2. Jill Tooley

    Interesting post, Amy! I don’t use either Redbox or Foursquare, so this promotion won’t do much for me, but it’s going to be hella appealing to the people who already use both services. They really do have the perfect setup because they’re not in direct competition to each other but their offerings are complementary. Pretty brilliant.

    How does the partnership with Amex and Groupon work? Are they promoting this deal on Groupon right now?

    P.S. Price increase or not, I’m still loyal to Netflix! But you can’t blame Redbox for trying to cash in on the situation. 🙂

    • amy

      The partnership with AmEx works by linking your AmEx and Foursquare accounts, when you check-in at a participating location and tap “Load to Card” and then pay with your AmEx card. You’ll get those savings on your monthly statement then. You can check out: for more information.

      Groupon’s partnership with Foursquare works by offering real-time daily deals based on your check-in locations.

  3. LK

    This is a good idea for Redbox and Foursquare. I can definitely see the leariness of people to “check in” places, however, SO many smartphone users already use some sort of “check in” app, that this promotion is likely to bring more people to Foursquare. If people start using Foursquare to check in at Redbox, they will be likely to continue using it and may then abandon whatever other app they were using to “check in”.

    With Netflix’s increase in costs to have streaming & DVD’s, I’ll probably switch to just streaming and get my movies from Redbox. For $0.99 a night, I could get 4 movies a month from Redbox (assuming I return them on time) at the additional cost Netflix would be charging me! I don’t even get a chance to watch one Netflix DVD in the span of a month so this would definitely be worth it.

    • amy

      I fully appreciate this partnership too Lauren! Even though I’m not a Foursquare user, it does make sense to me for those people who are.

      Since Netflix’s announcement I’ve heard of a lot of strategizing going on, at least they gave consumers plenty of notice 🙂

  4. Joseph Giorgi

    If I were a smartphone owner, I’d jump all over the chance to get up to $1.00 off my next Redbox rental (which basically means a FREE rental). I’m a huge Redbox fan, and I wouldn’t mind jumping onto the Foursquare bandwagon if it means having access to exclusive perks like this.

    Nice topic choice, Amy! I <3 branding posts! 🙂

    • amy

      Thanks Joe 🙂 I think a lot of people will be jumping on the Foursquare bandwagon if it means extra savings. Makes you wonder if this is successful if other major companies will partner up with them too?

  5. Amanda

    Nice blog post topic Amy! I think this was the ideal time for companies like this to work together. With Netflix raising their DVD costs more people are using Redbox. And since smart phones are gettting more popular, and less expensive, all three things should keep going up in the future. =)

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