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Black Card: New Loyalty Programme

Media Release March 11, 2002

Black Card Seeks Brands and Business Backing New Zealand's First Ever Student Loyalty Programme

The Government's focus on promoting New Zealand internationally as an education destination has paradoxically made it realistic for the entry of New Zealand's first ever student loyalty programme.

Full time student numbers increased to 120,000 this year with students aged 20 to 24 representing a spending power of $2.7 billion. On average these students will spend $22,500 per year or $430 per week.

According to research recently completed by as much as $10 million of this total spending power is set aside for discretionary items such as takeaway food, beer and entertainment - a consumer marketer's dream.

Enter New Zealand's first ever student loyalty programme, the Black Card, the brainchild of's Spencer Willis and Julie Harrison.

"The Black Card will allow us to establish more meaningful relationships with the student members of our online community ( ) and give them rewards for spending money on products and services they already regularly purchase," says Mr Willis.

From the participating brands perspective it gives them an opportunity to develop a loyal following and communicate directly with the youth market.

New migrant and successful British businessman David Harris has provided financial backing and down-to-earth management input for's Black Card concept.

"When I came to New Zealand I was seeking an investment opportunity that demonstrated creativity and innovation. I trawled through numerous business proposals that were interesting but they didn't grab me. When an associate told me about the Black Card I immediately saw the enormous potential that existed to make the programme really fly."

Mr Willis says they are currently in negotiations with several leading youth brands with a deadline of early-April looming.

"We're on tenterhooks at the moment. It's a very exciting and nerve racking time for us. All indications suggest the Black Card is going to be a hit with students and marketers alike," he says.

Mr Willis admits New Zealand has it's fair share of loyalty programmes but says the Black Card is unique because it specifically targets youth and has tangible rewards that 18 months of research have revealed students desire.

"Our research results demonstrate students are ready to participate in a loyalty programme designed exclusively with their likes and dislikes in mind.

"For students there's nothing worse than a big corporate trying to be cool and dictating to them. It needs to be a two-way thing which is what the Black Card is all about.

"It all hinges on brand loyalty during a student's lifetime. They give up three years to commit to a course of study and they're loyal to that goal. So during that time we want to give them as many rewards for their efforts as possible and create an active community environment," he says.

The approach towards finding a suitable name for the student loyalty programme involved less science and more gumboots and black singlets.

"We think the name 'Black Card' has a nice fit with Kiwi and university culture and will be another way New Zealand students can distinguish themselves from the rest of the world," he says.

How does the Black Card work?

When students receive their activated Black Card they can register online at the student community portal . Next time they purchase a participating product / service they swipe the Black Card in the EFTPOS terminal and redeemable points are added to their individual accounts. These points can buy items displayed in the virtual shopping mall section of the website. The main incentive for the student is to use the card to accumulate enough points to generate regular redemption. - ends-

Released on behalf of by Porter Novelli New Zealand. For further information please contact:

Spencer Willis (649) 623 7491 or

Nikki Wright Porter Novelli New Zealand (649) 373 3786

© Scoop Media

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