RealTime IT News

Ah, You Want Fries With That Auction?

In a marketing deal that could "shake" up the fast food industry, online auction king eBay and fast-food giant Burger King have cooked up what they are billing as the first Internet-based loyalty program in the burger-and-fries biz.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay and Miami, Fla.-based Burger King Corp. said the strategic alliance, set to launch early next year, lets fast-food consumers earn points by purchasing certain food items. Points can be deposited and tracked on a co-branded Web site and consumers will then be able to use them to bid on rewards that have been posted on the Burger King and eBay Web sites.

Financial arrangements between the companies were not disclosed. Burger King is a unit of Diageo , an international food and drinks company created by the merger of Grand Metropolitan and Guinness.

Burger King said it will make available approximately one million rewards during 2002, adding that through its relationship with AOL Time Warner, for example, the media company may provide rewards such as CDs, concert tickets and other entertainment experiences.

"The development of this loyalty program demonstrates the flexibility and power of the eBay platform," said Brian Swette, chief operating officer at eBay. "We think it will be very popular among Burger King customers and the eBay community."

"This new program will reward our loyal customers by combining the food they already love with rewards from other great brands and alliances delivered via the convenience and fun of eBay," said Chris Clouser, executive vice president and chief global marketing officer at Burger King.

The companies said they will jointly develop both online and off-line marketing programs to promote the program, including significant in-store promotion at the 8,400 Burger King restaurants in the United States.