One of 2010's biggest social media stories was the rise of group-buying services like Groupon and Living Social. These companies have been a hit with businesses and consumers alike, offering great discounts on products and raising visibility for entrepreneurs. (Think of the hugely successful Volkswagen Jetta promotion on Gilt a few months back.) Recently, Facebook entered the Coupon Wars with a new feature called Facebook Deals. And now, five Mazda dealers are using it to offer shoppers in the U.K. a 20% discount on the Miata, there known as the MX-5.
The promotion began yesterday and runs through March 7, 2011. To participate, you'll need a mobile device with a Facebook app (an Android, Blackberry, or iPhone device will do nicely). Just visit any of the five participating dealerships -- Machargs (Glasgow), Romford Mazda (Romford), RRG Mazda (Manchester), MKG3000 Mazda (Twickenham), or Vospers Mazda (Exeter) -- and check in using Facebook Places. The discount should pop up as a Facebook Deal once you've done so. Then, just show your mobile device to the salesperson, and voila, you've got a new MX-5 at 20% off.
But wait, there's more: even if you're not looking to buy a new car just now, there's still a reason to check in at those dealerships, because each is giving away a new Mazda MX-5 Miyako special edition. To enter the sweepstakes, just check in as before, then enter your Facebook check in details into the "data pod" located at each dealership. The five winners will be drawn at random after March 7.
This seems like it could be a really big win -- not just for Mazda, but also for Facebook's Places and Deals features. It's certainly one of the highest-profile uses we've seen of either service, and it creates some interesting possibilities for auto marketing. (For example, imagine checking in at a restaurant and seeing that the dealer next door is offering a one-day special on the exact car you've been looking for.) Here's hoping that American dealerships give us a shot at similar deals soon.