July 22, 2010, 2:38 PM

Sears uses online vidoes to promote its rewards program

Winner will earn points under the Shop Your Way Rewards program.

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Sears Holdings Corp. has started to promote the retail chain’s Shop Your Way Rewards program with a contest that encourages consumers to post vidoes about how they would spend 1 billion rewards points.

Sears, No. 8 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, will allow program members to submit the vidoes and select the winners. Consumers can submit 45-second videos describing the best way to spend the 1 billion points, which potentially is the top prize in the contest. The catch is this: The contest winner must donate at least half the points to charity.

The contest, which runs through mid-October, marks the upcoming one-year anniversary of the rewards program, which Sears introduced in November 2009, says Lou Ramery, the retailer’s senior vice president of relationship marketing. The contest is the first Sears has undertaken that involves consumer-generated online vidoes, he says.

Sears recently added the rewards points component to the program, he adds. Only consumers who sign up for the rewards program, which also includes Kmart consumers, can submit vidoes or vote for the winner.

“The contest is a fun way to engage our more than 17 million members while also giving them the opportunity to help others,” says Scott Freidheim, executive vice president, operating and support businesses.

The rewards program typically awards ten points for every dollar spent, Ramery says, though some purchases earn more points. Consumers can spend their points across all brands owned by Sears.

The prize pool starts at 100 million points and increases 10,000 points for every video submitted. That means consumers would have to submit 90,000 videos for the prize to reach 1 billion points. Each individual can submit multiple entries.

Sears will post the videos at www.billionpoints.com.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Sears Holdings Corp. has turned to consumers to promote programs or its web sites. The company has begun asking consumers to submit video game reviews to MyKmart.com, an online community launched in May 2009. The retailer will post the best reviews on Kmart shelves.

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