Froot Loops cereal
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

This Loyalty Program Was So Bad That They Ended It.

...and they knew it.

A loyalty program is designed not so much to reward a member for his or her past business; but to encourage future business — but this loyalty program was so bad that they decided to end it effective as of Saturday, December 31, 2022.

This Loyalty Program Was So Bad That They Ended It.

The loyalty program in question is known as Kellogg’s Family Rewards, which is maintained by a multinational company that is best known for decades for its cereal products: The Kellogg Company. Generally, members earned points by entering codes from specially marked packages of Kellogg’s products; and those points could be redeemed for merchandise, coupons, gift cards, and sweepstakes entries.

Kellogg’s Family Rewards was never a great loyalty program — even when it was first launched at least ten years ago — but it offered enough incentives to minimally keep its members engaged…

…until September of 2021, when a controversial statement was announced that a new version of the loyalty program was coming and all points would expire when the old one ended on Friday, December 31, 2021 — and redeeming points for rewards that were earned under the old loyalty program suddenly became more difficult to accomplish.

Source: Kellogg’s.

After clicking on the red Find Out More button, the following text — with what seems to include a subtle admission of failure — appears:

Goodbye KFR.
Hello, more fun!

To better connect you to your favorite brands, we’re ending the Kellogg’s Family Rewards® program on December 31, 2022. All the offers and promos you love will be fun-er, simpler and easier to take part in.

After January 15, 2023, you’ll no longer need your KFR username or password – just look for fun offers and promotions from specially marked products, social media and tv commercials. PLUS you’ll still get emails and news updates letting you know what’s happening directly from the brands you love.

We’ve learned a lot from KFR and this change will make it easier to experience the stuff you love without the stuff you don’t.

“Fun-er”?!?

The current version of the Kellogg’s Family Rewards loyalty program became effective as of Saturday, January 1, 2022 — and it was unpopular. First, members had to earn a token for each activity they completed — such as watching videos, uploading receipts, completing quizzes, and participating in polls as three examples — and they were required to earn a minimum of five tokens per month in order to redeem for a reward…

…and rewards included inane items — such as a pair of Cheez-It socks, as the cheesy snack cracker is one of the brands which is owned by Kellogg’s. The rewards for November of 2022 include a:

  • Walmart eGift Card worth five dollars — whose supply has since been depleted
  • Gift card worth five dollars at either T-J-Maxx, Marshall’s, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post
  • Discount of five dollars on salty snacks by Kellogg’s
  • Donation to United Way worth five dollars
  • Entry to a sweepstakes to be one of three winners of a shopping spree worth $100.00 at Kelloggstore.com

Final Boarding Call

Would you spend time doing all of the required activities for the aforementioned rewards?

I would not.

One axiom of loyalty programs — if you want to keep your members engaged — is that you never tell them that all of the points or miles which they earned will expire at the end of the year. I would not be surprised if that aspect alone caused members to give up on Kellogg’s Family Rewards even before the new version started last year.

This reminds me of when Coca-Cola decided to end the incentive program called My Coke Rewards through which codes found underneath the caps of bottles and printed on packages of cans were redeemed for frequent guest loyalty program points and free soft drinks — amongst other prizes and rewards. Similar to Kellogg’s Family Rewards, Coca-Cola ended the original iteration of My Coke Rewards on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 — as I wrote about it in this article here at The Gate on Sunday, July 23, 2017 — only to introduce a far inferior version of their loyalty program the next day, Thursday, March 23, 2017.

The updated iteration was apparently not successful, as it eventually quietly faded out without fanfare — evidenced by what is currently offered under the Rewards tab at the official Internet web site of Coca-Cola.

Two major multinational companies had introduced reasonably rewarding incentive programs before decimating them and reconstituting them with “enhanced” overhauls that their marketing claimed would be even better than ever and that their members would love — only to have failed miserably primarily because they did little or nothing to encourage future business from their customers. I find that fascinating.

Some frequent travel loyalty programs have similar issues: they are “enhanced” in the belief that their members would like the programs even better — but many people know that they are attempting to cut costs; and the frequent travel loyalty programs eventually become worse. With few exceptions, when was the last time you thought a frequent travel loyalty program actually improved for you?

If a company is to offer a loyalty program, then incentives of value are needed to keep the attention of its members — as well as to keep them loyal. Otherwise, that loyalty program will fail miserably, as shown by both Kellogg’s and Coca-Cola.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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