Loyalty programme for sports card collecting kids
In the world of baseball cards, it's the adult collector that has supported the category for many years, according to Upper Deck, which has launched a new 'First Kids Rewards' programme to encourage younger card collectors to enter the market.
Upper Deck's new sports trading card-based rewards programme for children is simple in concept: children buy packs of any 2006 Upper Deck Baseball product, go online and register the four-character alpha-numeric codes found on the back of the cards, and get points for each unique card they have.
Earning points Upper Deck cards have varying point values (from 50 up to 250, with an overall average of 100 points per card), and collectors are encouraged to register all of their cards to find out how many points they're worth. Importantly, the points allocated to each card are random: there's no relationship between the number of points and the skill or status of the sports star featured on the card. This aspect is expected to increase the level of excitement and anticipation involved in collecting each card series.
Redemptions Collectors can redeem their points for prizes, starting at 1,000 points. Along with video games, iTunes songs, movie passes and autographed memorabilia, every card entered effectively counts as an entry into a sweepstake to win the reward programme's grand prize: a private clinic with all-star shortstop Derek Jeter.
Market rejuvenation According to Upper Deck's senior marketing manager, Kerri Stockholm, "Through extensive research, we've learned that most trading card collectors are over the age of 35. Because of that, the industry has become less child-friendly, with more of a focus toward older customers."
But, while not wanting to alienate its core of older collectors, the company spotted a definite need to build up the trading card collection market for the next few decades. Stockholm explained: "We have to reconnect with and create interest among children, making cards relevant to them again." To do that, Stockholm said that the company's efforts would have to add an element of interactivity while also giving each card a significant value.
Wider audiences Another element that Upper Deck hopes will attract children is that the cost of the cards is deliberately being kept low. "For many young collectors, price is a major factor," said Stockholm. "It's also something that parents - who help drive buying decisions - take into account when steering their children toward certain sets or packs."
According to Upper Deck, every card in every baseball set - from its US$2.99-a-pack UD Series 1 to the US$0.99 First Pitch - will be part of the rewards programme, and the number of points awarded per card are not related in any way to the cost of the set of cards. Upper Deck says it will soon have 20 MLB card sets in the Kids Reward programme mix.
Other sports to come "We know that baseball is still the most popular sports card category among kids," said Stockholm. "Because of that, we wanted to use baseball to launch the Kids Rewards programme. But, the programme will be extended to our NFL (August 2006), NBA (September 2006) and NHL (October 2006) product lines."