Novus Services is testing a new affinity card aimed at the growing ranks of gardeners, backed by a campaign by DDB Needham here.
Novus, a Riverwoods, Ill., subsidiary of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., rolled out its Yard Card earlier this month with direct mail and telemarketing overseen by Needham. Additional advertising, including TV work, is testing in select markets, said Cathy Edwards, a company representative. "It's a large test," Edwards said, declining to be more specific.
It is Novus' sixth affinity card but the first that has not been issued in partnership with another entity, Edwards said. Novus has issued cards in conjunction with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the Smithsonian, the Independent Grocers Alliance, Universal Studios and BrandsMart USA.
Users of the Yard Card gain points for every purchase that can be redeemed on gardening supplies found in a Novus catalogue. "We looked at people's interests, and this is one of the highest out there," Edwards said.
Research by Needham backed the premise. "There's just been a surge in gardening, with record high numbers last year," said Charles Austin, a senior vice president and group account director at Needham.
Client and agency officials declined to discuss spending on the campaign, or a date for a potential national rollout. Last year about $110 million was spent advertising the company's various credit cards, which include Discover, Bravo and Private Issue, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Novus has 48 million cards in circulation, according to Edwards.