Boston has launched a quirky new marketing campaign designed to get more people engaged with the city. It's called Visit the Pin and it uses gigantic push pin replicas with tags as location markers. The tags on the pins ask viewers to text a keyword to 46305. I've only come across one pin so far and it's in Copley Square.
After texting COPLEY (as instructed by the pin) to 46305 I received a return message informing me that there's a farmers market in the area on Tuesdays and Fridays (which I knew since I found the pin on a Friday). It also invited me to call a phone number for more information, text A for near sites or text B for free events.
Texting A results in: Boston Public Library, Trinity Church and Newbury Street and a phone number for more info. Texting B results in Waterfront Performing Arts Series, Landmarks Orchestra Hatch Shell and AHTS: Boston Arts Festival and a second phone number. I was also directed to visitthepin.com to learn more.
The campaign is intriguing. It captured my attention and warranted some follow-up. But there are certainly things the city could be doing better. Here's my 30 second analysis of what works, what doesn't and suggestions for improvement. Feel free to add your own comments at the end.
What works: The pins catch people's attention and encourage them to interact with their environment. Texting results in more options for interacting, including phone and web.
What doesn't: The campaign doesn't engage people that aren't willing to send that first text. The phone numbers that the city provides in their follow-up texts aren't of much use (one led to the parks department's voice mail telling me they're often out of the office, the other phone number just rang and rang with no answer) and the website doesn't extend the campaign branding.
Suggestions for improvement: Give people multiple ways to interact with the pin. Text is great, but put a phone number and URL on the tag as well. Give clues to where the other pins are, make a game out of it and the city's likely to get more interaction. And finally, if you're going to throw out a couple of phone numbers, make sure they're supported, if not by person than at least have a campaign specific voice message.