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M&S signs up to O2 location grab

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High street stalwart Marks & Spencer has joined the O2 More service, pushing out free smoothies to O2 customers passing by their doors.

O2 added location-based messaging to the opt-in service last October, offering to push SMS and MMS messages out to customers based on their location, which now includes being near an M&S branch when the message will offer a free smoothie with every sandwich purchased.

Mobile advertising is very profile-driven, and the offer will only be sent to customers who've registered an interest in food and drink. That makes this exactly the kind of offer that proponents of mobile advertising like to pitch. Recipients have opted in, volunteered information and thus receive a reward (a free drink) for eating somewhere they might not have considered visiting before (unless they needed new pants).

It's also the thin edge of the wedge. One can imagine a time when opting out of such messages leads to a higher bill, worded the other way of course, and such advertising becomes as accepted as the adverts one is obliged to see when searching the web, or reading most of it.

But we're a long way from the limits of what people will accept, and opting in to receive messages offering deals on desired products seems a reasonable thing to do – until today we didn't even know that Marks & Spencer branches had cafes, or that they served smoothies. ®

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