Blockbuster Loyalty Put To Test

Sawbuck Brings Questions, Rental Breaks To Participants
DETROIT(Eth)Blockbuster Entertainment is testing a consumer loyalty program called Blockbuster Rewards in 10 cities and plans to roll it out nationally early next year, according to sources.
Blockbuster representative Liz Greene confirmed the program and said the test cities are St. Louis, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver, Detroit, San Diego, Sacramento, Calif., San Francisco and Chicago.
Advertising for the program thus far has been limited to direct mail and in-store promotional pieces, but it is likely to include national TV and print when the program goes national, sources said.
Brierley & Partners, Dallas, helped launch the test program along with a “multitude of agencies” that Greene declined to identify.
W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., which recently won the creative assignment on the $160 million account, is expected to handle national work as the program launches, sources said. Representatives of both Brierley and Doner referred questions to the client.
Consumers who signed up for the program and paid $10 received a three-page direct mail piece, including a letter from Jim Notarnicola, Blockbuster’s marketing head, explaining the program, as well as a one-page survey.
Questions mainly focused on the recipient’s experiences with Blockbuster and their video preferences.
Several questions concerned e-mail use and if the consumer “would like to receive notification via e-mail of the latest releases and special offers from Blockbuster.”
The mailing includes the tagline “Go home happy,” developed by former lead Blockbuster agency, Young & Rubicam, New York.
Two weeks ago, Blockbuster moved its creative account to Doner from Y&R. Media planning and buying is at Camelot Communications, Dallas.
“We’re getting a good response so far, and we’re looking forward to seeing where it will go,” Greene said of the Rewards program.
“I think loyalty programs fit in well with Blockbuster. It’s a natural,” she added.
Rewards program participants receive a free Blockbuster Favorites rental each month and get a free rental after five paid rentals of movies and/or games. They also get a free Blockbuster Favorites rental with every paid movie or game rented Monday through Wednesday.