"Walk off your poutine"

Valentine is a Quebec–based fast food chain. To stand out amongst global brands and local favourites alike, the restaurant has a "no B.S." approach that fully embraces the nature – and caloric count – of its products.

In the province of Quebec, young adults represent over 50% of QSR consumers. Yet, they are very hard to reach and engage. And they increasingly consume English Canadian, American and international online and mobile content, making it difficult for local brands to stand out amongst global brands, especially in the QSR category.

Valentine wanted to earn customer loyalty by respecting their intelligence and being honest with them while others were "healthwashing." It decided to turn a guilty pleasure into a reward, and chose the guiltiest pleasure of all – poutine – and invited consumers to earn the meal for free by walking off 1,100 calories.

Valentine used a mobile pedometer app for iOS devices called "Walk off your poutine" that challenged customers to earn a free poutine by burning the equivalent number of calories contained in one (more than 50% of the recommended daily calorie intake). The number of steps needed varied according to the user's age and gender. Once they walked off their poutine, users could redeem it using a mobile coupon.

While GPS technology allowed for the accurate measure of speed and distance travelled, using the built–in accelerometer in iOS devices enabled Valentine to extend the experience to non–connected iPods. User statistics confirmed the judiciousness of opting for the accelerometer: 60% of app usage was made on iPods instead of iPhones.

While the app features a store locator and mobile couponing system, the experience is focused on the walking experience and requires no user sign–up. Encouraging messages, written in the brand's cheeky tone, accompany users from the first step to the very last, in store. As is the case with most fitness trackers, Facebook connectivity enables users to easily share their progress and, ultimately, their success.

A promotional site, online video and iOS–targeted mobile banners drove users directly to the app store. An event was held in downtown Montreal and at the Six Flags amusement park, during which a team invited influencers and the public to walk off their poutine using a treadmill. Wild signage was installed alongside walking trails to promote the app.

The "Walk off your poutine" app became the #1 app in Canada in the food and beverages category in less than a week, ahead of Starbucks, 7–Eleven and Urbanspoon. In its first six months of existence (on the iOS platform only), it generated 50,000 downloads, 5,000 transactions and 300 million steps. The overall initiative generated press coverage in top–tier Quebec media and social impressions worth over $150,000.