A WHOLE LOT OF FUN, PRIZES TO BE WON [253]



Coke Zone was the name of a loyalty points scheme operated by Coca-Cola from 2008 to 2013 across its range of soft drinks. By collecting codes printed on bottles, boxes and can ring pulls, the points you accumulate could buy money-off vouchers to use in stores, magazine subscriptions, cinema tickets and, if you were lucky, expensive electrical items like games consoles and cameras.

I have great memories of Coke Zone. Diet Coke is still my favourite drink, and because I rarely ever drink anything alcoholic, Diet Coke is often all I ever drink, apart from water. Introducing a loyalty scheme to a product for which I was already a loyal customer was very welcome indeed.

To be honest, I practically fleeced Coca-Cola when they ran Coke Zone. I diligently collected the codes to enter on their website to collect the points, and friends and work colleagues that knew I was collecting the codes gave me their bottles and cans to throw away, after I wrote the codes down. You were only allowed to collect fifty points per week, and while a 330ml can gave you one point, a 500ml bottle gave you two, and a multipack scored five points, I often reached their weekly limit due to the codes I was given.

In return, I received many things: 100 points could be exchanged for £5 vouchers to use at HMV to buy CDs and DVDs – before 2011, when HMV also owned the bookshop chain Waterstones, I could redeem them for books as well. I received quite a few tickets to watch films at my local cinema, also at 100 points each. I had a year’s free subscription to the film magazine “Empire.” I also had a money-off voucher for a clothes shop, which I remembered using on a pair of shorts.

The high point was when I actually caught a big-ticket item on the Coke Zone website, which often disappeared as quickly as they appeared: on a day off from work, having collected enough points to participate, I spent 600 points to buy a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T90 camera, which cost about £250 in 2009 – it was either one of them, or an Xbox 360 console. I still own and use this camera.


When Coca-Cola started to wind down Coke Zone in 2013, the offers had become less enticing – increased participation from people in the points scheme had caused inflation, with vouchers costing 100 points having increased to 150, then 200 points, while larger items, previously costing over a thousand points, were replaced with prize draws, spending fewer points to enter. Coca-Cola provided a final round of larger products to burn up the piles of points that some, like me, had amassed – I bought a nineteen-inch Sony Bravia television which, like the camera four years earlier, would have costed around £250, but costed 1,500 points. Once Coke Zone finally closed, I had received prizes and vouchers worth a total of over £650.

I have never been that lucky since, although I rarely enter any competitions. However, I have benefitted from other points reward schemes: HMV started their own, Pure HMV, whose money-off vouchers came in good use when I realised I needed David Bowie’s complete discography after he died. Like Tesco Clubcard and the Boots Advantage card, my loyalty to buying products from them that I could have bought elsewhere is being rewarded, rather than buying one brand instead of another – I guess the 1980s “cola wars” between Coke and Pepsi never really ended. Meanwhile, my bank introduced a current account in 2014 that offered its own yearly choice of rewards, one of which was six free cinema tickets per year. I have paid to watch a film in a cinema only a few times in the last ten years, and one of those times was for “Cats.”

My Coke Zone online login apparently still works, but Coca-Cola’s website now only offers product news and the occasional competition, which is perhaps all it should ever have done. Coca-Cola is a brand that does not need to advertise as much as other products, such is its place in popular culture – I wish I could find a copy of the poster I once saw that shows a Coke bottle with the slogan, “And what would you like to eat?” They only need to advertise to remind people they are there, which is why you see Coca-Cola ads most often at Christmas, Easter and during the summer.

Fortunately for Coca-Cola, I would have continued drinking Diet Coke regardless of whether Coke Zone existed, but I took advantage of it while it was there. My continual loyalty to them has since been measured in pounds Sterling, rather than points.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I’M JUST SECOND HAND NEWS

MAKE A BIG NOISE PLAYING IN THE STREET [242]

JUST A DREAM AND THE WIND TO CARRY ME