Archive for May, 2009
The Credit Card Act of 2009 was passed on May 22, which provides federal regulations for gift cards. The law specifically regulates general use prepaid cards, gift certificates and store gift cards. The law excludes: (a) cards that are re-loadable and not marketed or labeled as a “gift card” or “gift certificate”, (b) loyalty awards or promotional gift cards (which is yet to be defined by the Federal Reserve), (c) cards not marketed to the general public, and (d) cards issued in paper form only. The law prohibits expiration dates on gift cards that are less than five (5) years from the date on which the gift card was issued or the funds were last loaded to the card. The law requires the terms of expiration to be clearly and conspicuously stated.
The law permits dormancy, inactivity and service fees on gift cards only if
(a) there has been no activity on the card in the 12 month period prior to which the charge is imposed,
(b) not more than one (1) fee is charged in any month, and
(c) disclosure requirements are met.
The disclosure requirements are that the card must clearly and conspicuously state that a fee may be charged, the amount of such fee, how often the fee may be charged and that the fee will be charged for inactivity. Notably, the fee must be disclosed to consumers before the card is purchased, regardless of whether the card is purchased in person, over the Internet or by telephone.
The law will become effective 15 months after it is signed by the President. The law does not preempt state laws that are more restrictive than this law.
These materials have been prepared by Winston & Strawn for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.
Not all levels of consumer engagement are created equal
When people use social media platforms, they are doing one of four things:
- sharing links to new content
- gathering information (connecting the dots)
- talking about personal thoughts and opinions
- sharing media.
All of these actions produce user-generated content in the form of blog posts, videos, or podcasts, which are then placed on social media sites. When a company launches a product or an agency launches an advertising campaign, that action creates buzz. Buzz means excitement, and excitement is contagious: people engage with new content, then talk about it, essentially creating free publicity. The more buzz, the more publicity!
If we break this excitement down, it’s clear that not all levels of consumer engagement are created equal. The Ghuneim Scale of Engagement divides online customer engagement into four distinct levels.
- The lowest (adoption) is when someone joins a group, tags a post, or bookmarks a page.
- Medium engagement (filtering) is when users rate, vote, comment, or endorse someone else’s content.
- With original content creation such as blogging, message-board chatting, video uploading, and podcasting, a higher level of engagement is achieved. Social engagement represents the highest level, occurring when individuals add friends, network, or create fan communities.
Customer satisfaction is great, but isn’t very exciting. In a world where 60-80% of customers describe their customer satisfaction as satisfied or very satisfied before going on to defect to other brands, customer satisfaction is no longer enough of a guarantee that consumers will stay loyal. If we as advertisers want the biggest return on a brand’s investment, what we need is excitement, buzz, and engagement. To do that, agencies must be able to engage in a meaningful dialogue with potential customers. Monitoring and creating online video, blogs, and podcasts both monitors buzz and creates it. This helps ensure customer satisfaction on one hand, while encouraging brand loyalty on the other.
ConAgra’s Rick Abens, who’s also the PMA VP of Research, presented the following recap of our Shopper Marketing Study, Year 2 at the recent 2009 Shopper Marketing Summit.
Here’s the intro to the study’s summary that was published in Brandweek:
Shopper marketing is taking our companies in the right direction at least that’s the perception among manufacturers and retailers who are actively practicing shopper marketing. According to the Promotion Marketing Association’s (PMA) 2nd Annual Shopper Marketing Study, investments in Shopper Insights capabilities are clearly paying off for the industry as half of the companies practicing shopper marketing feel they have a very good understanding of their shoppers, representing a significant increase from last year.
Despite this encouraging news, 82 percent of the industry still feels further improvement in retailer-manufacturer collaboration is needed. There was little difference between retailers (78 percent) and manufacturers (87 percent) in their expression of this need.
The good news is that survey respondents have indicated there are three areas that, if improved, will lead to more effective shopper marketing collaboration between manufacturers and retailers. The three key areas are:
- Common metrics, or lack thereof
- Post promotion evaluation
- Longer-term joint planning
With this in mind, more companies could potentially see ROIs in the range of 5-to-1 that the best practitioners are achieving.
Download the slides here:
PMA President Bonnie Carlson talks with The Hub’s Tim Manners about his publication’s annual shopper marketing survey of the best practitioners on both the agency and client sides of the business.
Great conversation on shopper marketing with Chris Hoyt, one of the discipline’s leading lights.
It is a privilege to champion this “Experiential” blog. In the days ahead, I have invited business associates/friends to share this space and voice through their lens what “Experiential Marketing” is all about. Since the PMA office required this be fired up quickly for a quick posting, two recent movies releases are germane.
“Beethoven Is in the House”, is a line Jamie Foxx’s character “Nathaniel Anthony Ayers”, coined as he sat with Cal Lopez played by Robert Downey Jr. in the Walt Disney Concert Hall listening to the LA Philharmonic.
The SOLOIST film is based on a book written by LA Times reporter Steve Lopez about his innocent, real-life discovery of a homeless person eloquently playing a two string violin on a street in LA.
Lopez’s character, whose ex is also the publisher of his newspaper elects, to wipe his reporter slate clean and focus solely on this homeless schizophrenic, Juilliard dropout. This heart string journey the writer and director take us through by two great actors is simply a stunning performance.
Newspaper journalism was the focus of another film which opened this past weekend headlined by Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck titled “State of Play”. This action film finds reporter Crowe chasing a murder mystery that seemed to be at the heart of corrupt Washington politicians and perceived supremacist security corporations set to take over privatizing Homeland Security.
Crowe & Downey share a common thread in their roles as each play newspaper reporters’ working for female bosses faced with the task of getting their star reporters to deliver headline news to drive newsstand sales while online continues to deliver “nuclear fallout” to the future prospects of the printed instrument.
Hollywood film makers have always been insightful storytellers. Writer’s script actors to deliver important messages. Directors are responsible for crafting the visual impact. Is it possible Hollywood is delivering our culture a message about the importance of the actual printed newspaper tabloid? Or is it a veteran reporter?
PMA successfully monitored Wash. SB 5210, which would have required significant additional disclosure in advance consent marketing and in promotions, both of which could have had an adverse impact on our industry..
The bill has been withdrawn by the Washington State Attorney General in the current Washington State Legislative session, which expired.
PMA will monitor any revised bill that may be presented at the next legislative session of the Washington State legislature, which begins January 2010.
The New York Attorney General’s office has entered into a settlement agreement with AT&T Mobility which requires the Company to pay up to $2.63 million dollars to consumers who were entitled to rebates but instead were given “rebate cards” that expired in four months and were difficult to use. The cards were portrayed as debit cards, but could not be redeemed for cash. The AG’s office found that AT&T failed to adequately disclose the cards’ conditions. There is another lesson here, at least in NY, that when one promotes a non-cash rebate, it will be intensely scrutinized.