Creditz poised to take on Air Miles

Don't try telling David Vaters that Canadians are inundated with too many loyalty programs. The founder and president of Consumer Economic Opportunities (CEO) in Toronto has helped create a membership-based consumer loyalty program called Creditz, which pledges to be a rival...

Don’t try telling David Vaters that Canadians are inundated with too many loyalty programs.

The founder and president of Consumer Economic Opportunities (CEO) in Toronto has helped create a membership-based consumer loyalty program called Creditz, which pledges to be a rival to The Loyalty Group’s successful Air Miles program.

‘We think Creditz provides a superior program to existing in-house and third-party programs for a number of reasons,’ says Vaters. ‘Consumers get a high-value program that makes attaining points easier, they get to control their own participation and they get to redeem rewards wherever and whenever they want.’

And just how is that different from other loyalty programs, all of which promise pretty much the same thing?

‘We are not a rewards program,’ insists Vaters, a business executive with 20 years’ experience in the Toronto fashion and promotion industry. ‘Our business model is totally different.

‘When we got into the business of loyalty programs, we quickly discovered that a lot of people are members of programs, but not that many were redeeming points and earning what they deserved for being loyal. So we’ve put together a broad-based program that makes collecting and redeeming much easier and quicker.’

The company’s base program will see members getting one ‘creditz’ for each dollar they spend at CEO’s partner companies. Partnerships have been struck with companies such as Allied Van Lines, Discount Car and Truck Rentals and Enbridge Consumers Gas. Vaters says partnerships are also being formed with businesses in the home improvement, travel, automotive and real estate sectors.

According to Walter Matias, program manager with the residential division of Enbridge Consumers Gas, the Creditz concept meshes well with the utility’s own marketing objectives.

‘We want people to choose natural gas,’ says Matias. ‘Creditz is a simple method to do that, instead of offering something like cheque rebates.’

He says Enbridge is also poised to reap the benefits of the data mining opportunities through its association with CEO.

‘Through follow-up surveys CEO does with consumers on our behalf, we can identify consumer behaviour and then do one-to-one marketing through CEO in areas of gas conversion or energy efficiency,’ says Matias.

Like other programs, a quarterly newsletter will be mailed out to members, with an option for online delivery. Over time, updates can be done monthly, weekly – even daily, if warranted.

Vaters says CEO is currently approaching retailers in the next segment of partnership acquisition, leading up to a full launch of the program later this year.

‘Three-quarters of all Canadians belong to some kind of loyalty program,’ he says. ‘So our target is quite broad. Once people learn about Creditz, we think they’ll quickly understand what makes the program so great,’ adding CEO’s goal is to sign up as many people as possible.

When customers are ready to redeem, they get a voucher that can be honoured through any of the program partners. Enrolment is free.

‘With some internal and third-party programs, consumers find it difficult to attain points because they don’t shop enough in one place,’ Vaters says. ‘Or they find it hard to redeem because of high thresholds. We’ve designed Creditz so these factors won’t be an issue.’

Partners, Vaters adds, can take advantage of CEO’s data mining tools. They will have access to large amounts of data that Creditz can turn into what he calls ‘workable business solutions.’ The company’s proprietary system, the Exclusive Systems Solution, is used to collect relevant transactional, demographic and customer information. Tener Solutions Group of Toronto will be providing the data mining analysis for CEO and its partners.

CEO will also offer loyalty account administration, member care services, data management and online access to information for program partners.

‘Other programs may have access to a lot of information,’ says Vaters. ‘But they are unable to collect, utilize and interpret data as we can. What sets us apart is our ability to work the data into one-to-one marketing solutions for our partners.’

To promote the program, CEO is readying a multi-million-dollar print and television ad campaign helmed by Toronto-based ad shop Holmes & Lee, along with Padulo Integrated.

‘We are also exploring direct marketing, but we feel our biggest asset is our proprietary communications vehicles,’ says Vaters.

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group