Murphy USA Gives Social Media a Whrrl

Launches "Whrrl Society Rewards" loyalty program

EL DORADO, Ark. -- Murphy USA has teamed up with Pelago, the maker of Whrrl, which has launched Whrrl Society Rewards, a social loyalty program designed to close the gap between a brand's online social media presence and real-world physical presence. Whrrl will reward the convenience chain's customers when they check in with Whrrl at one of Murphy USA's 1,100 locations nationwide; they will be accepted into the "Murphy USA Society" and earn a chance to immediately win free gasoline.

Whrrl Society Rewards is a new form of loyalty program and different from traditional loyalty [image-nocss] programs in four ways: Whrrl Society Rewards is prize-based. Consumers have an opportunity to win prizes when they check in to participating retail locations and earn additional opportunities to win as they achieve higher levels in Societies, which happens as others act on their recommendations. Because the rewards are prizes of chance, the program can be started and stopped easily and quickly, without the long-term financial liabilities that come with traditional transaction-based loyalty programs.

Whereas traditional programs such as loyalty "punch cards" are based solely on transactions, Whrrl's Society Rewards is based on a person's ability to inspire friends to try new ideas at real-world places. When a user recommends an idea, they earn points and can level up in a Society. Users receive additional points when others "Want To" try that idea, actually do try the idea or pass on the recommendation to their friends. Users also earn points by getting others to join the Society and by checking in at qualifying locations.

Retailers and brands can have their own Societies on Whrrl. Societies are groups for the real-world, bringing people together to motivate each other to try new things in a variety of topic areas, including live music, fashion, food, shopping, outdoor activities, "follow in the footsteps" groups and more. Retailers and brands can create their own Whrrl Societies and motivate their customers to join, activating them in the real-world.

Whrrl Societies are viral. There are many opportunities for members to share out to their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, from check-ins and recommendations to prize win moments, which organically grows the Society.

Murphy USA has also engaged the services of Collective Bias, a social shopper marketing agency, to create a social media advocate community. This community will drive participation in the Murphy USA Society as well as the retailer's future digital and social initiatives.

"Traditional loyalty programs can create the wrong expectations with customers, because discounts based on transactions don't always lead to a deeper relationship," said Casey Petersen, social media marketing manager for Murphy USA. "We love our customers not only for their business, but positive word-of-mouth and influence on others to try Murphy USA gas. Whrrl's Society Rewards program is the perfect way to reward them for their loyalty."

John Kim, vice president of product and marketing at Pelago, said, "Murphy USA is embracing social and local technology to re-invent what it means to be your gas station. Why does fueling up need to be a mundane activity when it can be opportunity for surprise, delight and fun? We are excited to be working with a brand that wants to add spice to your everyday activities."

Pelago said it was founded to change the way people experience and explore the physical world. Whrrl, the company's flagship product, is a real-world game with a purposeto end "social rut"to help people escape from behind their computers and patterned lives, to get back out into the physical world with the promise of compelling, highly relevant new experiences.

The company, based in Seattle, is led by an executive team from companies including Amazon, RealNetworks and Yahoo. Pelago is backed by Internet and mobile investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bezos Expeditions, T-Venture, Trilogy Equity Partners and Reliance Technology Ventures.

Collective Bias, a social shopper marketing firm, builds relationships between brands, retailers and consumers through its proprietary social influencer platform called Social Fabric. The Social Fabric community drives conversations on a wide variety of social media platforms in order to build consumer engagement, brand loyalty and sales conversion.

And Murphy USA's commitment to its social media and online presence has been growing with new iPhone and Android smartphone Cheap Gas apps.. It also announced separately on Facebook a text messaging promotion. Customers text keyword MURPHY to 87963 to subscribe text message special offers and price change alerts. Just for subscribing, the customer will get a free Red Strike Energy Drink. The program will offer two to three special offers and freebies each month.

Murphy USA, part of El Dorado, Ark.-based Murphy Oil Corp., operates more than 1,000 convenience stores in 21 states.