Air Miles, a fully-owned subsidiary of British Airways, was the first successful promotions programme. Initiated in 1988, in 1998 it had a registered database of over 3.6 million collectors and involved nearly 360 companies in Britain and the Channel Islands. Air Miles can be inherited and have been included in divorce settlements. Professor Steve Worthington, an expert on loyalty schemes at Staffordshire University, has suggested that ‘with all the different ways of collecting and spending, Air Miles have become a quasi-currency’. In the mid-1990s leading supermarkets, such as Sainsbury and Tesco, also developed similar loyalty schemes in order to identify and stimulate brand awareness. Database marketing and loyalty programmes, the ultimate promotion strategies for the retailer, are powerful, highly segmented customer-oriented forms of promotion, encouraging customer retention and purchase activation. From the perspective of the customer, they can be seen as invasive and a loss of privacy, thanks to the indiscriminate use of personal information about the individual.
   Further reading
    Rossiter, J.R. and Percy, L. (1997) Advertising Communications and Promotion Management, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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