Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Fan Rewards Goes for the Gold.

Does anyone remember the launch of the Discover Card? When introduced in 1985 as “the card that pays you back”, it really felt different from Visa and MasterCard. Forget the card’s super high interest rate—I was getting cash back on every purchase!

Times change and now the cash back bonus doesn’t feel quite so special, but an outfit called My Fan Rewards is putting a fresh spin on it. They’ve teamed with the U.S. Olympic Committee to launch a program called MyTeamUSA Rewards.

The program works like this: When you shop through, using any credit card, you not only earn cash back from the retailer—a like amount is given to support U.S. Olympic athletes. For example, shop at the Nike Store and you’ll earn 4% cash back, while 4% of your purchase is matched and handed over to the USA Olympic team.

The program is free and feels like a good way to tap into the emotions surrounding the country’s Olympics love fest. But the real test is coming: keeping fans interested in the MyTeamUSA program now that the Olympic torch at the Vancouver Winter games has been put out.

My take: a solid, targeted emotion-based communications program could do the trick. The key will be in getting program participants juiced not about the Olympics that just passed, but for the next Olympic games to come. (2012 in London, in case you were wondering.)

On a side note, My Fan Rewards is rumored to be expanding into the pro sports market next. It’s not a bad idea, as professional sports teams showing fans a little return love could help ease the grumbling about ever-increasing ticket prices. (Of course, let’s hope the cash rebates will be a one-way affair, and go straight into the pocket of the consumer!)

This article was written by Tom Rapsas and originally published February 28, 2010, on Loyalty Truth. Tom is a writer and creative director and a 20 year direct and loyalty marketing veteran. He can be reached on Twitter @tomrapsas