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CHICAGO Time Out Chicago's “100 Best Things We Ate and Drank This Year” issue contains a list of just that, compiled by the editors and used as a restaurant-hopping handbook for local food enthusiasts. On Thursday night, a 200-guest cocktail bash at the Bedford celebrated the launch of the 2011 issue and also promoted a new social media initiative.
“The event was part of a larger, yearlong partnership between Time Out Chicago and Foursquare, which launched with our '100 Best Things' issue that hit newsstands in December,“ said Julie Sprich-Hammer, the magazine's marketing director. “In the issue, we announced the partnership to our readers with a badge reveal on the cover and mentions throughout the feature package. We also created a promotional campaign to promote the badge and the badge benefits in print, online, and throughout our social media channels."
Through the partnership, Foursquare users who follow the magazine and check into two venues mentioned in the issue unlock a custom badge that entitles them to a year of perks. One such incentive was an invite to the Bedford event, and special offers and promotions from the magazine's partners will be offered in the coming months.
The goal of the event, and the partnership at large, is to “engage with our audience in the social space as well as the experiential sphere,” Sprich-Hammer said. “By integrating Foursquare and the badge throughout the editorial in the '100 Best Things We Ate and Drank This Year' issue, we started incorporating the social media element into our readers' dining experiences.” Furthermore, “by creating the specialized badge, we become part of our audience's Foursquare experience as they share their badge achievements through their social media networks.”
Ultimately, events like the one on Thursday night “[are] the unique feature of the whole program,“ Sprich-Hammer said. “[They] give badge holders access to something outside of the immediate dining experience.“ The events also allow magazine reps to “provide an exclusive event experience [readers] earn as part of their loyalty to us.”