World Cup mania is about to begin and that means one thing: it’s a social media branding opportunity! On Friday, in time for the first kickoff, Bing is going to release a World Cup badge on Foursquare which can be unlocked by people who follow Bing on the service.
The badge, which is a Bing soccer jersey (see leaked image), will be tied to bars and other venues in select U.S. cities such as New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Seattle where fans will gather to watch the games. Some of the bars and restaurants will also have tips, which will come from Thrillist, and people who follow Bing and check into those places may be offered specials regardless of whether they earn the badge. (Incidentally, earlier this week Thrillist launched it’s own iPhone app, filled with its own reviews of bars, restaurants and shops sprinkled on a Google map. It was downloaded 10,000 times in the first 24 hours, and is currently one of the top free Lifestyle apps, although it would be better if it used the Foursquare API to allow you to check into places too. Update: I was wrong. It turns out you can check into places via Foursquare, or share via Twitter, Facebook or email through a “share” button on the detail page of each venue, which is kind of hidden, but it is there).
So how do you find these soccer bars? Glad you asked. Bing will also be introducing a new Bing Map App on Bing Maps called HomeTurfFinder which will show you where you can watch World Cup matches in those select cities (see screenshot below), along with surfacing related Foursquare checkins and tips.
Bing is not the first brand to get a World Cup badge from Foursquare. CNN announced two badges on Tuesday in the image of a CNN soccer ball.
Sponsoring a World Cup badge is an easy way for big brands like CNN and Bing to get people to follow them on Foursquare. At least they are not trying to sell us anything. They just want us to like them. Who’s next for the hat trick?