Tag Archives: customer service

How To NOT Treat Your Customers & Community: The Downfall of Coca-Cola’s MyCokeRewards

As I have shared with you, I like to take advantage of a variety of programs and memberships which allow me to get freebies for doing things I would have already done anyway. Doing so is how you can really stretch your budget and make the most of what you have. One of the very first such programs I was a member of was Coca-Cola’s MyCokeRewards. For a decade or so I was a member. It was similar to the Pepsi Stuff/Pepsi Points program from many years back, for some of you who may remember. On Coke products there were codes, you entered the codes online for points, and you could then cash in the points for various rewards.

Over the years I used MyCokeRewards and redeemed them for theme park tickets, Amazon gift cards, and a variety of other various, worthwhile prizes. It gave you a reason to look forward to drinking Coke, saving your caps and packaging, and even asking your friends and family to save them for you. It really helped to build brand loyalty.

I don’t drink a lot of soda, but I am very loyal to Coke when I do. I am a simple, original Coke type of guy. I actually have a hard time drinking a full-size 12-ounce Coke, and prefer only having an 8-oz can every so often. It’s the perfect size for someone like me! Coca-Cola is an iconic brand. Everything from their Christmas/Santa packaging and advertising, to their other artwork and classic advertising. Being a reseller I have grown to love Coke advertising and have sold many vintage signs, crates, bottles, you name it. My passion for Coke and their brand has also led me to holding a small investment in Coke, for many of the same reasons that Warren Buffett has held the stock for so many years. It’s just a small gesture, but I was so very proud when Stockpile, the company I use to hold Coke stock, sent me a stock certificate that I could display in my office last year. Simply put, I’m very loyal to Coke.

All of these reasons is why it truly hurt so much when Coke decided to “improve” their MyCokeRewards program, as they decided to call it. Make it “better.” Yeah, right. We’ve been down this road before. Over the years, they have changed the program many times. They have made it harder in different ways, made you earn status levels, changed it back, and I don’t fault them for any of that really. During all these changes over the years they still kept the basic truth of the program which was that you could use your points towards actual prizes and rewards. Things that made it worthwhile.

With this last and seemingly final update, all that changed. First off, they set a certain deadline in which you would no longer be able to enter the codes you had already collected. This deadline has passed. The program had a weekly 75-point limit in which you could not pass, which was understandable. What wasn’t is that they didn’t allow their loyal community to have an unlimited period in which they could catch up their stockpile of codes. Many people had to just simply throw away the rest of their codes. If you look at the community they built on their Facebook page, this is one huge complaint stemming from these changes. The people responding truly don’t even seem to care that they have angered everyone.

They are claiming that the program will be “better” now, and “easier.” It sort of reminds me of Donald Trump’s campaign for President. False promises and statements throughout. The new program which they are transitioning to seems to be nothing but entering your codes for sweepstakes entries. Who really wants to be loyal to a brand, save their codes, and enter them for a small chance at winning something? Saving them for something you would actually want like a theme park ticket, gift card, movie ticket, Coke t-shirt, etc.. is much more worthwhile. On top of destroying the program they built, they gave everyone a time period in which they have to use all their earned points by, or lose the rest. Even though the new program looks to be a joke, why wouldn’t they allow points to carry over?

The basic truth is as follows: I understand that business changes, society changes. Soda sales have slowed dramatically over the years, as more people now drink bottled water and other healthy alternatives. I’m no different. Myself and the rest of the Coke community probably would have understood more if Coke was just honest and stated that they had to change the program or get rid of it all together due to declining sales, profits, whatever the case. But claiming that they are making it “better” and “easier” and whatever other blanket statements they feel like using is a great way to lose the loyal community that you spent years building. Turning your own community against you really makes no sense.

Were you a member of the MyCokeRewards community? What are your personal thoughts on these changes? I’ve heard of some other programs that have recently done similar moves, including a local gas station/convenience store which has implemented similar changes. Have you experienced any similar situations? It’s a shame when you get used to something and it gets taken from you, but that is life I suppose. Is honesty too much to ask for in this day and age? That is really all I am asking here.

I usually always try to be positive, and I’m sure my next post will follow that path, but this is something that has been on my mind for a while that I just felt the need to share. It’s not the end of the World, my life is filled with many bigger problems. To wrap it up and be as honest as I can, I’m just really let down by the iconic, classic brand that is Coca-Cola. Drinking my 8-oz can just may never be the same again….

Thank you for reading, and leave your comments below! I promise that I will respond!

Brent Ott