Outback launches first loyalty program with Tim McGraw

Outback Steakhouse will launch its My Outback Rewards loyalty program on January 25. It is the company’s first nationwide rewards initiative.

For the effort, Outback has partnered with country music star Tim McGraw. In addition to food and gift card rewards, members of the program will also be privy to promotions and events for McGraw’s 2010 tour, which begins next month.

The free program was developed by Rally Marketing Group.  

The initiative is entirely online, so users do not need a loyalty card, explained Kelly Parriott, EVP of marketing services for Rally. Members can register on www.myoutbackrewards.com by entering their mailing address and e-mail addresses.

“They also have the option of giving us their cell phone number, as we’ll be launching some text promotions for members in the coming year,” she added.

Once users register, they can visit any Outback location to redeem points. Meal receipts will feature numerical codes, which users can enter into the rewards site.  The points — one for each dollar spent — will transfer into their online account and can be redeemed for prizes.

Outback will initially e-mail members of the program once a month with updates on new prizes and other content, some of which is co-branded with McGraw, like music downloads, wallpapers and interviews.

Outback is promoting the campaign through its existing e-mail database, social media, in-store messaging and also through McGraw’s social media pages on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.  

“Outback looked very closely at concentrations of customers by location and among those who like country music, and it actually indexes quite high,” said Kelly, when asked by the company chose to partner with McGraw.

In a statement, Desmond Edwards, VP of marketing for Outback, said: “When Rally presented our team with the Tim McGraw partnership, it was a fit because it was based in extensive research on the Outback customer, provided ongoing measurability with a positive ROI model, added relevance to our local markets and provided rare synergies from a culture standpoint.”

Earlier this month, Outback launched a sweepstakes for the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day that prompted consumers to text in to enter the Outback Adventure Sweepstakes. Users could also enter online, where they would automatically be entered into the rewards program. So at its launch on January 25, Outback already has a small base of registered users.

Throughout the tour, both McGraw and Outback will raise money for Operation Home Front, which supports members of the US Armed Forces and their families, and Neighbor’s Keeper, a community charity founded by McGraw and wife Faith Hill. Money will be raised through in-store promotions and the sale of a special concert t-shirt that gives the customer extra Outback Rewards points.

Outback began work with Rally last February on various experiential marketing campaigns, and in late August on the loyalty program.

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