Topaz, Ireland’s largest fuels and convenience retailer, is to invest €3 million in a new interactive loyalty game for customers called PLAY or PARK.

The company expects PLAY or PARK - which it describes as the first retail based loyalty programme in Europe to use an ongoing game mechanic - to attract over 250,000 members in its first year.

To enter the game customers collect points which enable them to PLAY for an experience of a lifetime prize every month – or they can choose to PARK them and carry them forward to participate in a following month’s game. The key difference with other loyalty schemes, according to Paul Candon, marketing and corporate services director, is that everyone who plays each month is eligible for a complimentary Topaz Treat eg coffee and muffin, car wash and so on.

"The objective was to come up with a unique and fun way of rewarding customers for their loyalt," he explained. “Irish people are very interested in loyalty schemes. Ninety three per cent of them carry one loyalty card while almost two thirds have three. However they only actively participate in half of them. Our customers told us they wanted something that was fun, engaging and interactive and that’s what we’ve done."

Every month customers stand the chance of winning an experience of a lifetime. The prizes include a luxury holiday in the Maldives, a tour of various Michelin starred restaurants around Europe, shopping in New York with three friends (with €8,000 spending money), a trip to Thailand, a new car (with free fuel for a year).

Candon pointed out that there is also a very important charity element to the game: “Every quarter players can opt to play for a donation to a local charity of their choice and a cash prize for themselves. Topaz will match all those donations with a donation to our own charity partner Aware, which is doing tremendous work helping those suffering from depression” he said.

A nationwide advertising campaign including TV, social media, radio and print ads will kick off in a couple of weeks time. The company estimates its overall spend on PLAY OR PARK will be €3 million.

“Through the imaginative use of technology PLAY or PARK we will be able to connect with our customers at a deeper level and to engage with them through various media, be it mobile, social media, email or our newly designed website. But it will always be on the customer’s terms. At Topaz we know it is all about enhancing the customer experience and PLAY or PARK will ensure that 2013 is a rewarding year for all our loyal customers,” Candon concluded.