Loyalty alternative to ‘happy hour’
Moving quickly to fill the vacuum caused by the British Beer and Pub Association ban on “happy hours”, loyalty scheme provider Fibremesh Systems has introduced a programme called Loyalty Reward to stimulate business, increase profits, and presumably keep people drinking.
The move which could be construed as having questionable morals, or at the very least to be contrary to the spirit of the BBPA voluntary agreement, uses incentives, targeted marketing and automated communication to encourage repeat business.
Peter Maynard, Fibremesh Systems sales and marketing director said: “Pubs, bars, and to a lesser degree, the restaurant and hotel trade will need to replace lost business and look at new ways of increasing customer loyalty. With a ban on smoking also on the horizon, this challenge becomes even more critical.”
Maynard comments that “Loyalty Reward can even be used to improve overall business efficiency by encouraging customers to visit at quieter times,” which of course was the principal behind “happy hour” drinking.
For those who have been “happy hour” drinking at a foreign resort for the last few days, and for our non UK readers, the background to this latest move to keep the British upright is as follows:
Happy Hour promotions are to be banned in thousands of pubs across the country in a bid to combat binge-drinking and anti-social behaviour.
Cheap alcohol sales including drinking games will be banned by the British Beer and Pub Association’s 32,000 members in a voluntary agreement. The move is aimed at cutting excessive drinking in British pubs, which the Government claims sets the country back £20 billion a year.
UK pubs invest more than £60 million in door staff, CCTV and general customer security every year. It is understood that all pubs owned by Carlsberg, Heineken, Scottish & Newcastle, Youngs, Theakston and Diageo are joining the campaign. The All Bar One, Slug & Lettuce and Pitcher & Piano groups are also taking part.
The association has called for a ban on all Happy Hour promotions, including a £10 drink-all-you-can fee at the door.
A spokesman added: “Schemes that encourage people to drink too much too quickly are out.”
A Government spokesman said: “The Government supports the drinks industry in working towards ending promotions which encourage speed drinking, including all-you-can-drink and other Happy Hour sales,” he said.
So how is Fibremesh planning to replace Happy Hours in a way that conforms with the BBPA ruling?
The principal is a simple, points-based loyalty scheme which rewards both raised frequency of purchase and referrals of new customers. The scheme can be operated with or without a branded swipe card, and uses a Windows based computer system. Direct mail, email and SMS text options with managing reporting functionality are available. The software can be tailored for B2B and B2C loyalty schemes.
Adnams joins the campaign
In a surprise attack from a brewery, the chairman of real ale brand Adnams has criticised the drinks industry body the Portman Group and supermarkets for selling too much cheap beer, which encourages irresponsible drinking.
His comments came as Adnams, which is a Suffolk based brewer, launched its first responsible drinking campaign which will be incorporated into its future marketing plans. The scheme uses blurred pictures of the Suffolk coast to suggest the reader may have had one pint too many.
“It is about integrating a responsible drinking message into your whole business, rather than it being an add-on. We are trying to say this is important and we are making efforts,” he added.
Media drink on
A sobering reader survey by MediaWeek has compiled the online questionnaires of 1,500 readers to show that 87% of the workforce feel their jobs are very or quite stressful and 60% deal with this high stress by having a drink. 29% know someone with a drink problem. 42% of men and 30% of women admitted to drinking more than the Bupa recommendation of 14 units for women and 21 units for men. Sue Unerman, director of strategic solutions at Mediacom sees this positively. “The media’s drinking culture has got better since the 1990s – collectively and individually, to a certain extent, we have sobered up.”
Unfortunately, these sober creatives have turned to drugs.
One in seven of survey respondents said they have used drugs at a work function, such as a night out with the team or clients – meaning the odds are someone in your creative team is a recreational user. Cocaine is overwhelmingly the drug of choice, popular with 90% of all those using drugs. Cannabis lags behind at 52% followed by ecstasy and speed. The good news is that only 1% admitted to using drugs daily, with 17% using them once a month. There was also a significant use of magic mushrooms.