More Rewards pledges more support for sports

Save-On-Foods' loyalty program is funding local athletes to help its brand stand on its own and grow outside of grocery.

fueling-sport-imageSave-On-Food’s More Rewards loyalty program has launched a campaign supporting athletes in Western Canada, taking a cue from its parent company’s existing community-minded approach to strengthen its own positioning and growth into areas outside of grocery.

Save-On-Foods’ brand positioning is about going the extra mile and supporting local communities, according to Dan Howe, who was previously VP of marketing for Save-On-Foods before moving over to the president’s role for More Rewards in 2019 to lead the program’s growth. The grocer has developed branded programs to support everything from children’s hospitals to local food banks, though individual stores have also supported local sports teams on an informal basis.

Formalizing the sport support under the More Rewards loyalty banner makes sense, Howe says, as it can pull in coalition partners for rewards that are relevant to both elite athletes and youth sport. One of the program’s differentiators is its diversity of its rewards, ranging from typical things like free groceries and gift cards from most major retailers, to passes for the BC Ferry, Vancouver Canucks tickets and a very flexible travel program.

Like most loyalty programs, the growth vision for More Rewards is to collect and leverage data to better understand customers so that it can reward them with incentives to increase their loyalty to its family of brands. But Howe adds that the goal is also to create a powerful brand that can stand on its own, both inside and outside the Save-On-Foods banner, and pursue those opportunities in areas like travel, insurance and ecommerce.

“Fueling Sport” is a program meant to provide funding from “playground to podium” through sponsorship, fundraising and cost-offsetting opportunities provided by More Rewards and Save-On. It’s earmarked for local youth sport teams and amateur high-performance athletes across Western Canada, and over the next five years, will provide thousands of athletes $10 million in funding.

The accompanying creative features athletes like Desiree Scott from the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team, who will be championing the program through traditional and social media.

“Our bullseye target is a family with young kids playing recreational sports and an aspiring elite athlete struggling to balance their financial need,” says Howe.

In addition to Save-On’s history supporting local communities providing learnings about how to operate in the space, Howe says the program will also work in parallel to the grocer’s Amazing Food for Real life campaign, which established high quality, nutritious food, an attribute that connects well with athletes. The brand developing the program for almost two years, built around the original insight of watching the joy Howe’s daughters found in sport but also in post-game noshing.

“We felt that More Rewards and Save On Foods could partner together to fuel that snacking occasion,” Howe says, and with the pandemic, it kept hearing about the growing need to support emerging athletes.

The paid media plan includes targeted digital, YouTube, and social channels for both static & video assets as well as regional radio. The second phase of the campaign will also include a :30 second spot and the rollout of a broadcast plan.

Torque Strategies developed the concept, narrative and framework for the initiative. Victory Creative was the production partner and OMD, Alternator, Pound & Grain and Hype PR are supporting in implementing the campaign roll-out.