I drink Diet Coke. I like the way it tastes and I like the carbonation. Recently I started drinking Diet Caffeine-Free Coke because I’m trying to cut back on the caffeine. And I’ll drink Pepsi, especially if it’s on sale. But the point is, I drink soda and when I do it’s usually Coke products.
A few years ago I took notice of this whole Coke Rewards program. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, inside the cap of every bottle of Coke, and inside the cardboard or plastic packaging of every case of Coke, there is a long alphanumeric code. If you sign up for a free account at mycokerewards.com you can enter these codes and get anywhere from 3-25 points per code. The codes add up and you can use them to buy things from the mycokerewards catalog, enter drawings for really big prizes, or donate the points to charity groups for their use.
I decided to start playing, and I became one of those crazy coworkers or friends who sees you drinking your soda and asks, “Can I have your cap when you’re done with your Coke?” I’ve also been known to troll the workplace birthday/ anniversary/ shower/ retirement parties for the empty Coke cases so I can get points there.
The way the entry system works is this: You can enter up to 120 points per week; the count resets every Monday. When you see something on the website that you want to buy, you simply click on it, mycokerewards.com deducts the points from your account, and the prize is shipped to your address in 6-8 weeks. Items range in price from 3-2000 points.
Screen capture from mycokerewards.com – click image to follow to source.
Recently I purchased two 2-packs of AMC tickets plus popcorn and drinks. These cost me 1100 points each. I got to thinking about the math behind this, and was tickled by the numbers so I thought I’d share.
- 12-pack of Coke costs ~$3.50 (more expensive some weeks, less expensive others).
- 12-pack of Coke = 10 points
- 120 points added per week
- 1 prize of 2 AMC movie tickets ($20) plus 1 large popcorn and 2 large Cokes ($16.75) = 1100 points
- 1100 points / 10 points per 12-pack = 110 12-packs
- $3.50 per 12-pack x110 12-packs = $385
- And it takes me 1100 points / 120 points per week = 10 weeks to build up that many points if I have collected 120 points in a week, which I often don’t.
That’s a lot of Coke!
Coke gets their marketing – They know that I’m interested in their product over long periods of time because I continue to enter codes, they get to bombard me with advertisements when I visit the rewards website, and they get to track the kind of things I buy so they can better market to me in the future. In turn, I receive a free night at the movies with a friend. Like I said in the first paragraph, I drink the stuff anyway. I’m not buying Coke in order to collect points. I don’t buy more Coke than I would if there wasn’t a rewards program in place, and we still buy Pepsi if it’s cheaper than Coke on any given week.
I participate in several loyalty programs besides the Coke Rewards. I’ve got a handful of those little keyfob cards on my keyring: Sally Beauty Club, SuperAmerica Speedy Rewards, PetCo P.A.L.S, PetSmart PetPerks, AMC Stubs. I feel like I get free stuff for using these cards at places that I go anyway, but is the cost of me giving these companies so much information and ways to sell me more stuff worth it in the long run?
How do you feel about perk/loyalty/reward programs?