Z Energy has followed in the footsteps of New World and Countdown by launching a campaign that gives customers the opportunity to collect a series of collectibles when spending a certain amount of money.
Dubbed 'Blokhedz', the campaign features a series of 16 stackable figurines, based on superheroes and villains from the DC comic franchise, which consumers can collect if they spend more than $40 either in-store or on petrol (purchases of tobacco products cannot be used to redeem BlokHedz).
The campaign—which was created by JWT as the lead agency, MBM and Mediacom for media, and Heyday for digital—is currently being promoted via a short YouTube clip and a specially dedicated section of the Z Energy website, which features profiles of all the characters available for collection.
In addition, Z Energy also ran a Facebook teaser, which asked the online community to guess what the company was up to.
This campaign was however inundated with comments from one over-enthusiastic commenter named Mat Wihapi who seemingly took it as an opportunity to share as many celebrity names as possible.
The BlokHedz characters are distributed randomly, which in turn means that customers might collect doubles over the course of the campaign. But Mark Forsyth, the general manager of retail at Z Energy, isn't concerned about this.
“Half of the fun comes from collecting and trading the characters to try and get the full set – and the fastest way to do this is to join forces with family and friends," says Forsyth. "The other half is taking on family and friends in Blokhedz games and challenges – like building the biggest or craziest stack."
In the case of New World, the desperation on the part of collectors to get the full set of miniature grocery items led many Kiwis to Trade Me, where they bought or traded collectibles from others.
And while the hype surrounding collectibles has taken off in the past, not everyone is so enamoured with the concept. In June this year, Kath Dewar, the managing director of marketing business at GoodSense, criticised Countdown for its DreamWorks campaign, which she said a) led to children pestering their parents to buy products and b) raised some serious environmental concerns.
"In the UK, research shows £2billion (NZ $3.82billion) a year is spent by parents on things they don’t need as a result of ‘pester-power,’" said Dewar in the article. "While 50 percent of parents explain to their children they simply can’t afford the items, always a fun conversation, as many as 10 percent just buy the item finding resistance ‘too hard’. So there’s no doubt pester-power is effective and puts an added strain on households already facing hardship."
Given that The Blokhedz figurines are based on comic book characters that will almost certainly appeal to younger target market, this campaign could also potentially lead to parents being pestered to spend more in order to collect another character. And while this is certainly a moral grey area in terms of marketing, the success of New World's collectible campaign suggests that Kiwis don't mind being given random items as part of a retail experience from time to time.