Air Miles gets real with collectors

Actual Canadians make the cut in ads that talk up the loyalty program's new and evolving opportunities for rewards.

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Due to pandemic-related travel restrictions in recent months, Air Miles has put heavier focus on ways to earn and use points at retail, adding more partners with online offerings to its platform, some of which include Disney+, Sporting Life and Estee Lauder. Now, it’s looking to create awareness of those retail brands in a new campaign that puts its members front-and-centre.

Air Miles has nearly 11 million members – that’s nearly two-thirds of Canadian households, redeeming points every two seconds, says Rachel MacQueen, senior VP of marketing and collector experience at Air Miles.

“We knew moments of reward were special for our collectors,” she says, adding that the idea for the brand’s newest campaign comes from the realization that it has an “immense amount of passionate collectors.”

MacQueen says the new “Rewarding Canadians, every day” platform is a place for real people to share their Air Miles stories, with the campaign spanning television, radio, OOH, paid digital and social media. A 30-second hero spot kicked off mid-July and features collectors using their points for things like a barbecue, gas for a road trip or a camera for summer memories.

“We want to reinforce to all Canadians how easy it is to turn everyday purchases into meaningful rewards,” she says of the concept, which came from Notch Video.

The new platform launched after an extensive review of Air Miles’ brand marketing, in collaboration with its partners including Metro, Sobeys, LCBO, Shell, BMO and Safeway. Research showed that consumers were looking for more personalized messaging from Air Miles and its coalition of partners. As a result, the company is doubling down on putting collectors at the centre of its marketing to tell their personal stories.

“We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just us telling [consumers'] stories,” says MacQueen. “I think now, more than ever, Canadians are looking for brands to be authentic and real.”

It also applied its new strategy of creating more personalized experiences in the recent Happy Every Day program. The digital experience, housed on its Facebook page, was built to entertain Canadians while they stay at home and featured music performances, chef and fitness tutorials, as well as celebrity talks with the likes of Tessa Virtue, Zach Hyman and Buffy Sainte Marie.

Since its inception almost 30 years ago, Air Miles has partnered with 300 Canadian and international brands, as well as thousands of retail and service locations.