Consumers Rewarded for Not Using Phones

By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International

We all know how dependent many of us have become on our smart phones. They’re with us every hour of the day….and in fact, some people (mostly millenials and Gen-Xers) sleep with their phones. You can’t have a meal at a restaurant, go shopping, or walk down a street without seeing people with their phones to their ears or their eyes glued to the tiny screen.

This has led to isolation. People sit together at restaurants and instead of talking, they’re texting or playing games on their phones. Whatever happened to good, old fashioned conversation with eye contact?

Well McDonalds and Coca Cola have partnered to test an app with consumers in the Philippines. Not sure why they chose only the Philippines (maybe they need it the most?). It’s called the BFF Timeout App. Participants are rewarded for leaving their phones alone. At the McDonalds in the Philippines, user scores are ranked on a public leaderboard and prizes include trips to Japan and Singapore.

Here’s how it works.

BFF_Timeout_AppEveryone in the group downloads the BFF Timeout app. Once everyone in the group has opened the app and pressed the big red button, the timeout starts. It rewards each user for every minute they spend leaving their phone alone. The minute someone picks up their phone, the timeout ends. The app is currently only available in the iTunes Philippines store and works on iPhones and iPads only. Imagine the peer pressure if you’re the one in the group who couldn’t leave your phone alone!

It’s hard to believe that games like these are necessary in order to get back to having face-to-face conversations without interruptions.


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About Jeri Denniston

Jeri Denniston is a certified Strategic Management Professional with proven performance in strategic marketing, social media strategies, management, public relations, and business planning. During her career she has mentored and trained co-workers and staff in communication and leadership skills, facilitated board and management retreats, led workshops in strategic management and systems thinking, and directed strategic planning projects for the development of new products and markets in the financial, marketing information and publishing industries. Skilled in digital marketing, she teaches internet marketing and social media & mobile marketing at Yavapai College. Jeri's language skills include high level fluency in Spanish and proficiency in French. She has a masters in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, AZ.

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