12/10/2018

Affinity Federal Credit Union: Missing the Point — er … Points

This self-mailer from Affinity Federal Credit Union merits a Fail for Creative for failing to fully explain their offer.
Outside of self-mailer


Affinity Federal Credit Union
Address Panel


During most of the year, purchases on the AffinityFederal Credit Union Pure Rewards Visa Card earn 1 point per dollar spent. Based on their redemption options, I estimate this equates to a rebate value of approximately 0.7%. Every year for the past several years, the credit card has proactively offered customers a simple points multiplier of double points or triple points for purchases in November and December to encourage purchase activity during the holiday shopping season. 

This year, the points multiplier appears to be vary based on the type of merchant. According to the self-mailer, purchases at “Bookstores, including Amazon.com” earn “5 Bonus Rewards Points,” while purchases at “Gas and Restaurants” earn “3 Bonus Rewards Points” and “Supermarket and Wholesale stores” earn “2 Bonus Rewards Points.”

Affinity Federal Credit Union Pure Rewards Points Fail for Creative
Interior of self-mailer


The language suggests the customer might earn 5 Bonus Rewards Points per purchase at Bookstores. What I believe the credit union is attempting (but failing) to explain is that some purchases earn 5 Bonus Rewards Points per dollar. Even the Disclosure copy fails to explain this as such. It reads:

*Bonus points are earned as follows: in additional to the standard points you earn (1 point per $1 spent or 2 points per $1 spent if you quality for EvenMore perks), you will receive 5 bonus points on bookstores, 3 bonus points on gas and restaurants, and 2 bonus points on supermarket and wholesale store purchases less returns during the promotional period …

It appears to me that, if a customer makes a $100 purchase at a bookstore, the customer will receive 105 points. If the intention is that the customer should receive 600 points for that purchase (6 total points per dollar spent), then the offer copy should read “5 Bonus Rewards per Dollar” and the Disclosure should read:

*Bonus points are earned as follows: In addition to the standard points you earn (1 point per $1 spent or 2 points per $1 spent if you quality for EvenMore perks), you will receive 5 bonus points per $1 spent on bookstores, 3 bonus points per $1 spent on gas and restaurants, and 2 bonus points per $1 spent on supermarket and wholesale store purchases less returns during the promotional period …

The communication of the bonus points offer appears sloppy in a couple other ways. First, Amazon.com is not a bookstore. According to Wikipedia, Amazon.com started selling items other than books in 1998. Rather than “Bookstores, including Amazon.com,” the category headline should read “Amazon.com and Bookstores.” 

The second category reads, "Gas and Restaurants" when it should read "Gas Stations and Restaurants" for clarity.  Otherwise, a person who purchases gas at CostCo would expect to receive 3 bonus points per dollar.  The third category reads, “Supermarket and Wholesale stores” when it should read “Supermarkets and Wholesale Stores.” 


Lessons:
  1. Explain your offer clearly and concisely in the body of your communication as well as in your supporting Disclosure.
  2. Be sure to have your marketing communication proofread for clarity and accuracy.
  3. Amazon.com is not a bookstore.

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