The Hidden Price Tag of “Free” Rewards: Encouraging Mundane Surveillance through Canadian Loyalty Program Advertisements

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Creator: 

Brown, Jacqueline Holly

Date: 

2018

Abstract: 

The popularity of digital loyalty programs in Canada signal their ubiquity as forms of advertising used by retailers to communicate with consumers. Traditional forms of loyalty programs consisted of collectible stamps that were redeemable for rewards and free merchandise. More recent programs rely on digitization, which changes the nature of their redemption and the associated consequences for consumers. Digital loyalty programs can best be understand through themes of advertising rewards, everyday surveillance, and profiling consumers that illustrate how loyalty programs are able to influence consumer behaviour. By promoting the use of digital loyalty programs alongside ordinary products, retailers are able to create associations between the retailer, their loyalty program and the rewards that are provided in exchange for personal information. Canadians were introduced to digital programs through subtle strategies that help to mask how consumers exchange information about themselves collected through consumer tracking processes for "free" rewards.

Subject: 

Mass Communications

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 
M.A.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Master's

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Communication

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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