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Starbucks’ loyalty link with Delta was apparently a huge hit

Marketing Bites: McDonald’s new Happy Meals feature the Black Panther movie sequel; Checkers and Rally’s celebrate E.T.; Papa John’s shifts to value.
Starbucks Delta loyalty
A screenshot of the Starbucks app after it's linked with Delta Skymiles. The link has proven to be popular.

Marketing Bites

Apparently, a lot of Delta flyers drink Starbucks and vice versa.

The two companies linked their popular respective loyalty programs with one another last month, giving members of each respective program the ability to get benefits by using the other program.

And it’s been rather popular, apparently. “Both Delta and Starbucks were overwhelmed with what took place,” Interim CEO Howard Schultz told analysts on Thursday.

Or, as Starbucks CMO Brady Brewer said, there was “extraordinary demand to link accounts that was overwhelming relative to our expectations.”

Starbucks has 27 million U.S. Rewards members. Those members have been spending at the coffee giant like never before, accounting for some 55% of the money spent at company-operated shops. The company is now working to link its loyalty program to be used at licensed shops.

The company is also intent on linking Starbucks Rewards to other loyalty programs. In the Delta case, customers can earn Delta miles when spending at Starbucks. And Starbucks customers can get extra benefits when they fly Delta. The idea, Brewer said, is to improve the experiences for both companies’ loyal customers.  

“We’re looking at a number of leading brands,” Brewer said. “This is creating direct tech-to-tech connection to link our loyalty programs and make the experiences better for both brands and both sets of customers.”

McDonald’s new Black Panther Happy Meal: Fresh of the success of its adult-oriented Happy Meal, the burger giant is putting the focus back on kids with its newest Happy Meal, featuring the upcoming movie “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

This series of meals features one of 10 superhero toys based on characters from the movie, such as Shuri and Okoye along with newcomers to the franchise, like Namor and Ironheart.

The Happy Meal also represents an effort toward more representation in the popular meals for the burger giant. The first Black Panther movie was hugely popular, in part because “it set a whole new standard for representation on the big screen,” said Jennifer Healan, VP of U.S. marketing, brand content and engagement at the burger giant. The first Black Panther movie was also excellent.

Papa John’s new value: The pizza chain quietly started pushing value this summer, offering any two from a selection of menu items for $6.99 apiece, which is similar to a deal offered by rival Domino’s Pizza.

The offer is a change from the company’s previous focus on convincing consumers to order more expensive items, while holding to its “better ingredients, better pizza” mantra. But it’s also a recognition that this is what the pizza consumer wants.

“We chose very carefully how we approached promoting value nationally,” CEO Rob Lynch said in an interview. “It features items we feel great about on the menu but we haven’t been able to dedicate national promotion to in the past.”

E.T. phone Checkers: Checkers & Rally’s, the drive-thru restaurant chain with two names, is marking the 40th anniversary of the release of the classic movie “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” in partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Amblin Entertainment.

The company is offering a “Family Movie Night Meal Deal” featuring four single sandwich options, four small fries and four soft drinks. Select customers can also enter for a prize pack featuring a $25 Checkers gift card and a digital download of E.T.

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