Total has not looked back since calling time on its long-running Tops promotion 18 months ago, and believes its current creative programme of short-term promotions is proving far more effective than its loyalty scheme in driving up sales and capturing the interest of motorists.

The company’s retail marketing manager Iain Cracknell says the strategy has been to run 13 promotions a year, with each one running for four weeks - this being the optimum time to enable the store teams to get behind it and for it to maintain its appeal.

"After six weeks a promotion becomes wallpaper and the point of sale material looks tired, especially if it’s been raining," he explains. "The launch of a new promotion on a regular basis gives retailers the chance to refresh the image of their site and gives the customers something new and exciting to engage with."

Another plus point is the simplicity of the strategy as far as the retailers are concerned. It is available to the whole network and dealers don’t have to spend any money on it at all - they just have to decorate their sites with the publicity material. With the minimum spend set at £30 before a reward is due - this can be on fuel, shop or car wash - customers are driven to spending more.

"Judging by feedback at our last retailer conference, dealers have responded well to our programme of promotions," says Cracknell. "It is a better strategy than Tops which was admin-heavy and didn’t drive business. "We’ve also had great feedback from consumers, because we can see they’re taking part. Our last promotion exceeded targets by 25%."

Recently Total partnered with Merlin Entertainments Group to give its customers a great deal on family visits to some of Merlin’s key attractions - such as Alton Towers and Legoland - until the end of August. Customers were given the opportunity to get a ’2 for 1’ entry just by spending £30 on fuel or instore. It resulted in Total becoming Merlin’s most successful partnership this year with 70,000 redemptions made by Total customers to date. This equates to customer savings in excess of £1.5m.

Total also partnered Disney in June ahead of its film Narnia: Prince Caspian to offer its customers the chance to win a trip to New Zealand. There were 8,000 entries to the draw.

This month Total is partnering with TV channel Dave to offer one Total customer and a friend the chance to win a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive with the four-times World Rally champion Sebastién Loeb at a Citroen test and receive two tickets to the Corsica Rally as a VIP guest of the Citroen/Total team. There will also be two tickets to the British WRC for 50 second-prize winners.

Next month Total will be running a promotion on One water, the ethical bottled water brand that has been stocked in Total forecourts across the country since 2006. All profits go to providing clean, sustainable and safe drinking water for villages and schools in Asia, Africa and other developing countries. Total has already funded three roundabout playpumps. The promotion will enable customers to buy two bottles for £1.