financial services

Coinstar Offers Gift Card Exchange

Coinstar, which eliminated the need for coin collectors to have to roll their coins in paper wrappers in order to exchange them, is promoting its latest offering: A kiosk that turns gift cards into cash.

The integrated campaign for the newly launched Coinstar Exchange includes digital display, online video and radio, print, email, paid search, paid Facebook, mobile and in-store marketing. It broke last week in Cleveland, San Francisco and Seattle.

There are several hundred kiosks in those markets as well as several other cities. Locations will continue to expand and consumers can find the closest kiosk here.

Creatively, the campaign centers on a series of botched gift card exchanges. Print executions feature an Outback Steakhouse gift card given to a vegan and a Red Lobster gift card given to someone with a shellfish allergy.



The campaign theme/tagline is “Now The Thought Really Counts,” illustrating how Coinstar Exchange can help unlock the good intentions of gift givers trapped on unused gift cards.

It was created by Boulder, Col.-based Grenadier. Media planning and buying is being handled by Grenadier’s partner agency, Barkley, an independent shop based in Kansas City, Mo.

TV spots star David Barton Harris, a member and teacher at the comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade Los Angeles. He is shown trying to spend unwanted gift cards as if they were cash. Merchants look at him quizzically when he presents the cards, which are not for their stores.

The kiosks will exchange gifts cards for cash for an average of 60% to 85% of the gift card value, depending on the card.

Available at select grocery retailers in markets across the U.S., the bright yellow Coinstar Exchange kiosks allow consumers to transform unused or partially used gift cards into cash immediately and accept more than 150 gift cards from a variety of retailers.

Billions of dollars are left unused on gift cards each year, says Tricia Montgomery, Coinstar’s vice president of marketing and consumer experience.

“Coinstar Exchange has the potential to access a large untapped market,” Montgomery says in a release. “We believe there is a strong value proposition in providing people with cash for a gift card they may not want.”


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