CAMPAIGNS - Loyalty is on the cards for Bass - Consumer PR

Client: Bass Taverns
PR Team: Greenwood Tighe
Campaign: Launch of CheckPoints pub loyalty card
Timescale: September to December 1997
Cost: Approximately pounds 3,000

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.



Objectives



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.



Tactics



Greenwood Tighe won the Bass Taverns’ national account in September, not

leaving the agency much time to prepare for the CheckPoint card’s

October launch.



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

their area.



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

budget.



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.



Results



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.



Verdict



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

loyalty.’



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.



It was an effective and useful contribution to a trade which is fairly

conservative.’



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