Air Miles picks marketer to tackle Nectar scheme

Air Miles has recruited a marketing director, Richard Pepper, to help it win the battle against rival loyalty scheme Nectar.

Pepper brings specialist customer relationship management skills to the company and joins from the position of head of customer relationship management at T-Mobile.

Air Miles recently appointed Maher Bird Associates to handle direct marketing. Sister agency TBWA/London handles the company’s &£10m advertising account.

Pepper reports to managing director Drew Thomson and will work alongside director of partnerships and marketing Charles D’Oyly. D’Oyly was previously OgilvyOne’s US client director and joined Air Miles in September 2001.

The marketing team also includes Patrick Oqvist, who was promoted to the new role of head of marketing in April last year.

The company reported an &£11m loss for the year to the end of March 2002 last month, compared with an &£8m profit in 2001. It blamed the losses on a reorganisation of the business, the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and having to scrap the upgrade of a computer system.

Nectar launched in September last year as a pooled loyalty scheme for four key partners – Barclaycard, BP, Debenhams and Sainsbury’s. Air Miles previously worked with Sainsbury’s loyalty card but switched to become Tesco’s Clubcard partner.

Headed by Thomson, Air Miles has signed up a number of new partner brands, as well as launching its own holiday offering to stay competitive.

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