Virgin encourages health with online rebates

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Virgin encourages health with online rebates
Virgin encourages health with online rebates

Virgin HealthMiles has partnered with Mall Networks to provide shopping-based member rewards.

Virgin's HealthMiles Rebate Center allows HealthMiles members to shop at more than 500 merchants, including Circuit City, Apple and Target, in exchange for HealthCash. Members are also rewarded with HealthCash when they participate in healthy lifestyle activities and improve key body metrics. HealthCash can be redeemed for gift cards at a variety of retailers.

“The personal motivation to get out there and get active and engage in a program like ours varies so greatly from person to person that it makes us want to offer a host of benefits,” said Mary Beth Montgomery, director of marketing for Virgin HealthMiles. “Some people love that they can monitor their activity, others love that they can now shop and use this program and get even greater benefits.”

Montgomery went on to explain that the broad appeal of Mall Networks' multiple vendors fits well with the broad appeal that HealthMiles is looking to create.

“Virgin HealthMiles, like any loyalty program, is looking for ways for consumers to engage and see more value in participating and earning HealthMiles,” added Marc Caltabiano, VP of Marketing for Mall Networks. “The merchants are happy because they see Mall Networks as an advertising network. They pay us a commission every time a sale happens, so it's a win for us. And Virgin is happy because all rewards are funded by the network and Mall Networks runs it all so there's no cost to them from a management standpoint.”

HealthMiles, which is offered by insurers, corporations, health clubs and other partners to employees and customers, encourages members to be active and healthy. “Miles” earned in the program determine the member's reward level, which in turn determine the rebate amount that can be earned at the Rebate Center — the higher the level, the higher the rebate. The Rebate Center launched in December but is just starting its PR push.

Mall Networks is assisting Virgin HealthMiles with customer communications and marketing for the Rebate Center. The company sends confirmation e-mails to members telling them how many points they've earned and also sends direct e-mails with customized offers.

HealthMiles' other direct marketing efforts currently center on the employees or members of corporations that have already signed on for the service. The company's campaign includes a series of online tools, and an on-site launch day at the member company, at which employees are guided through the Web site and signed up for the service.

Virgin is working on a direct-to-consumer HealthMiles offer, which would allow individuals to sign up for the program. HealthMiles currently has about 50,000 members and aims to triple the amount of active members by the end of the year.

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