New York, NY. The home of the Knicks. The home of Foursquare. So why are Mikhail Prokhorov, Jay-Z, and Gowalla plastered on the side of a building on 34th & 8th overlooking Madison Squa
re Garden? Mikhail is the majority owner of the NJ Nets with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z as the minority owner. Gowalla, based in Texas, is that other location check-in service you may have heard about.
There is actually a good bit going on with this larger-than-life mural looming over the Garden. VaynerMedia, a company composed of Gary and AJ Vaynerchuck, are in the new media consulting business. They work with a range of clients from HipHopAtLunch to, you guessed it, the Nets. Gary also has ties to Gowalla as an investor, so it’s obvious why he’d want their logo on a 225 x 95 foot wall.
The Nets are busy trying to generate buzz for their team and possibly attrack one Lebron James to New Jersey. This little stunt probably won’t help them snag Lebron, but this huge billboard in rival territory definitely has people talking.
As far as Gowalla goes, they are also in rival territory here. This is Foursquare’s city. Foursquare is located in a loft
space in downtown NYC. This is one of the first cities they launched in. This billboard isn’t just for show, it’s actually a venue in Gowalla where you can check in and get a unique item. Oh, and don’t think you can game the system. Gowalla is strictly GPS. You need to physically go there to get the goods.
This looks like a win all around for The Nets and Gowalla, but I think Gowalla and Vaynermedia could have done a better job of really pushing their name out there. Location is a big deal, but it’s not a big deal to the average person yet. Most people haven’t a clue about Gowalla.
The billboard features 3 full website URLs for Facebook, Twitter, and The Nets. Gowalla just has a big logo at the bottom: “Check in with Gowalla to get a special item.” Where is the .com on the end? No iPhone/Android logo? For those New Yorkers know, Gowalla is a local street vendor giving out rainbow snow cones.
Foursquare, however, has done work with reality shows on VH1. People know the name, even though they may not know what it does. Still, Gowalla is making a big play here and this might just be the beginning. I’m just waiting to see if Foursquare responds by tagging up Austin, TX.