Cash Back Boulevard from Zions Bank

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To launch its new cash-based rewards program, created an offbeat microsite, Cash Back Boulevard, built around a challenging online game.

Putting the total cash rewards on a live meter on the site is brilliant.
It adds credibility to the abstract and indirect concept of a rewards program.
As of this writing, the meter read $2.14 million.

The game is original and fairly complex as compared to other games developed by financial institutions. They give you a “shopping list” of items you’ve got to locate in a specified amount of time. You must find the items by exploring stores within a virtual world.

You can choose from 6 different characters (avatars). If you’re any good, you can beat all three levels. (Warning: You only get 40 seconds. And it’s hard.)

This is the screen you see when the game starts.
You click on the various stores around the virtual town and
look inside to find items on your “shopping list.”

Screen shots from inside the virtual stores.
When you spot an item on your “shopping list,” you click on it and move on.

It looks like those who finished the game were eligible for a lot of pretty good prizes, but there doesn’t seem to be any information available on that component of the promotion (perhaps because the promo has ended).

Reality Check: No matter how cool you think your online game is, most people won’t care. But when you give people actual prizes, you’re giving them a real reason to go to your microsite and play your online game. It also makes marketing the site (that, in turn, should be promoting your product or service) easier and more effective.

The game requires you enter a ZIP code to play, but Zions pre-populates the game with a valid ZIP code, so you don’t have to go Google a ZIP code in their service area just to play. It’s a little detail, but it shows how thorough they were with their UI and design.

Branding the rewards program with Zions’ own, unique name, Cash Back Boulevard, is smart. As a financial marketer, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by trying to differentiate with a rewards program that looks and sounds like everyone else’s: RewardsPlus, Choice Rewards, etc. Plus, using an original name makes it easier to find a URL you’ll like. In this case, www.cashbackboulevard.com works well.

Bottom Line
In , Zions Bank claims the campaign generated the following results:

  • 9,000 registrants*
  • 248,000 contest entries*
  • 70% increase in website logins
  • 27% increase in new accounts
  • 25% increase in existing card usage

* Presumably people who finished the game.

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