Client: Bass Taverns
PR Team: Greenwood Tighe
Campaign: Launch of CheckPoints pub loyalty card
Timescale: September to December 1997
Cost: Approximately pounds 3,000
If supermarkets can cash in on loyalty cards, there is no reason why
pubs can’t, reckons the brewer Bass Taverns.
This was the thinking behind CheckPoints, a loyalty swipe card that cuts
drink prices for regulars. Drinkers accrue points for every pound spent
which can then be redeemed for food or drinks.
To promote Bass Taverns as an innovative pub retailer. To boost
awareness and card use among customers. To create media interest in the
issue of customer loyalty.
Greenwood Tighe won the Bass Taverns’ national account in September, not
leaving the agency much time to prepare for the CheckPoint card’s
The four-strong team, headed by account manager Tracy Hargreaves,
gambled on giving an exclusive to BBC on the eve of the launch. ’We used
TV and radio because we thought this would be the best and most direct
way of reaching a wide audience in a short time,’ she says.
They hoped the knock-on effect would generate publicity. The PR team
helped the campaign on its way by sending press releases and photographs
to nationals on the launch day. They faxed the regional dailies
detailing which of the 200 pubs taking part in the campaign were in
This was aimed at making on-the-spot coverage as convenient as possible
for local press photographers and for reporters doing vox pops. ’The
regional press were very important,’ said Hargreaves. ’We were trying to
encourage loyalty and Bass Tavern is big in the Midlands and North West.
It was vital to make a strong showing in these parts.’
Planning the campaign took just over 15 per cent of the pounds 3,000
Some 75 per cent, pounds 3,250 went on implementation - that is,
preparing press packs, lifestyle photographs and colour prints of the
card. Evaluation took just over eight per cent.
At the last count, 28 million people had been exposed to the story, says
the PR firm. Broadcast coverage included BBC 2, Channel 5, Radio 4 and 5
Live. Six nationals including the Daily Star, the Mirror and the
Guardian picked up the story.
So did 56 regional papers and 20 business titles. Greenwood Tighe says
that coverage is on-going and in London, where the card still hasn’t
been launched yet, awareness is high.
Unfortunately the tight timescale ruled out in-depth planning, but the
campaign has been well received. David Gregory, a BBC reporter in the
Midlands, covered the exclusive. He says: ’The presentation of the
scheme to the media was efficient and it encouraged local debate on pub
Mike Bennett, industry editor at Licensing Magazine says: ’I was not
overly aware of a heavy PR influence which surprised me because it was a
pioneering scheme. This is a good sign - they could have overdone
It was an effective and useful contribution to a trade which is fairly