What happens when loyalty schemes go feral
AIR NEW ZEALAND’S recent unscheduled departure from one bank’s loyalty programme to another caught many frequent flyers on the hop, and led to an unseemly squabble between banks desperate to win our eternal patronage in exchange for the chance of a one way off-peak trip to Timaru in 2019.
It also got us thinking. What is it about these loyalty schemes that makes us drive across town to earn points in some programme we don’t really understand and might not ever profit from? What’s in it for the marketers and why do they spend so much on them? And could the collective brains of the Idealogic Department concoct a range of programmes even more attractive than the current crop?
The first two questions probably require some sort of MBA to properly answer, but the answer to the third, happily, was found at the bottom of a bottle of cheap wine, partly paid for with our last nine years’ Fly Buys.
Bottoms up, loyal reader and enjoy our take on the future of rewards.
Rumoured to be the banking sector’s big move for 2015, this scheme sees banking return to its rural roots, with at least one company offering to drop round a bale of top quality merino wool to its most loyal customers. “Bruce”, a parttime loyalty manager at one leading bank, was cagey about the details but did say: “We’ve been fleecing the bastards for long enough… only fair they get a bit back.”
Emirates Team New Zealand Loyal-tea
Grant Dalton and co have really pushed the boat out on this one, promising anyone at all who writes a cheque in support of the next challenge that Dave Dobbyn will pop around in person, sing his 1952 hit jingle “Loyal” until they’re sick of it, then make them a cup of tea.
Cash is king in this frankly mad leaked Labour Party programme. Aimed to counter the claims or racism leveled at it in the wake of its Asian-sounding-surname property ownership survey debacle, Ker-Ching offers to compensate anyone called Ching, Chang, Lim or indeed anything a senior Labour staffer described as “even a little bit Howicky.”
Private prisons operator Serco describes this as, “an innovation in modern corrections facility management.” Fight Clubcard offers prisoners great rewards such as home brewed alcohol, mobile phones, Class B drugs and even Corrections Officers’ radios in exchange for creating and distributing relevant and compelling video content online.
Dine with DOC
Aimed squarely at the gourmet end of the market, Dine with DOC rewards foodies whwho aren’t afraid to think outside the menu. The programme encourages all New Zealanders to make better use of the living larder currently sitting wastefully in our zoos, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and offers tasty rewards for doing just that. The scheme currently focuses on kereru and other easily caught birds, but seafood lovers will be licking their lips at the prospect of Maui’s Dolphins returning to the menu in late 2016 (served rare, of course). Frequent flyers heading for Zimbabwe might think about joining the newly- opened international sister scheme Supper with Cecil.
Startup Burn ‘n’ Earn
This scheme is sponsored by NZTE and rewards startup companies not for spending their own money, but investors’. NZTE head of press releases Sarah Frankly- Speakin explains, “Profit is an outdated metric and anyone who focuses on it is living in the past. We wanted to reward companies who aren’t afraid to spend other people’s cash. Especially ours.” Details are sketchy but the scheme looks likely to offer direct cash payments to companies with a proven record of accepting and spending direct cash payments.