The NYT reports that only 49 percent of CVS ExtraBucks rebate coupons (free money!) are redeemed by customers. CVS wants this number to go up so it is launching “a humorous effort” to discourage “money trashers” from throwing away their ExtraBucks, which are printed at the bottom of their CVS receipts.
Does CVS really need to spend money on this kind of a campaign? The problem seems to be primarily about the placement of the ExtraBucks coupon, the coupon’s graphic design, and the ease with which someone can separate the coupon from the receipt itself (currently, the receipt has no perforation like some of the coupons you would find in weekly circulars). ExtraBucks accrue to ExtraCare customers who have already signed up for the program and swipe their card at the scanner every time they make a purchase in order to get the discount. Lack of awareness hardly seems to be the problem.
The Times reports that the marketing campaign is being rolled out alongside a coupon redesign that uses larger print and a “more eye-catching design.” Early results are “encouraging,” according to CVS, which says it noticed an increase of 5 percent in redemptions.
Now that the two are being rolled out together, disentangling which piece is responsible for the uptick redemption won’t be possible. This seems like a clear case where smart experimental design could help CVS assess the cost effectiveness of 1) A “money trasher” marketing campaign, 2) Various choice architecture changes to the delivery of ExtraBucks, and 3) A combination of a marketing campaign and choice architecture changes. Based on this current strategy, it’s doubtful CVS will be able to say much about the various tactics with any certainty. Too bad.