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Safeway Inc. and Blackhawk Network Introduce 10 Personalized and Creative Ways to Give a Gift Card This Holiday Season

PLEASANTON, Calif., Dec. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Safeway Inc. and its subsidiary Blackhawk Network, one of the largest providers of prepaid and financial payments products for consumers and businesses, are helping shoppers make memorable holiday gift-giving experiences with a list of 10 Personalized and Creative Ways to Give a Gift Card.

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This holiday season 80 percent of shoppers will purchase and give at least one gift card and nearly 60 percent of shoppers would like to receive gift cards for themselves, according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight. While the flexibility, convenience and fool-proof nature of gift cards has boosted their popularity, today's consumers are faced with a new holiday challenge — how to give a gift card in a way that is as personalized and special as the person receiving it.  The innovative presentation ideas from Safeway and Blackhawk Network step up to that challenge.

"Shoppers appreciate the ease of giving a gift card, but they also want to see the reaction that comes when a little extra thought is put into presentation," said Mike Minasi, President of Marketing for Safeway. "By using any of our personalized and creative tips, you can make the moment exciting and memorable."

As an extra perk, Safeway is offering double Rewards Points on gasoline rewards with the purchase of qualifying gift cards. From December 16 through December 31, 2012, Safeway shoppers will receive two Rewards Points for every dollar they spend in qualifying gift cards, accruing up to $1 or $2 off per gallon at Safeway fuel stations or partnering fuel stations, based on the geographic location. More information about gasoline rewards can be found at www.Safeway.com.

A gift card presentation should be a reflection of both the gift card and the recipient. For example, when giving a gift card to a friend's favorite restaurant, the giver could get multiple to-go menus from the restaurant, highlight the friend's favorite dish, put the gift card in a big box and use the menus as wrapping paper.  The menu itself will raise the friend's anticipation while the highlighted favorite item gives the presentation an extra personal touch.

Once a shopper has picked the perfect gift card(s) from hundreds of cards in the Gift Card Mall in any Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Dominick's or Carrs store, they can use any of these unique and easy techniques to create a memorable gift-giving experience.

 

10 Personalized and Creative Ways to Give a Gift Card

1.     FRAME IT.  A beautiful, yet inexpensive picture frame can make a gift card look like a work of art. Frames are a timeless stocking-stuffer that can easily reflect or create a mood to complement the card. Choose an elegant frame for a department store or upscale dining gift card. An online gaming, casual dining or music gift card could be placed in a fun, colorful frame.

2.     FAKE A CUP OF COFFEE.  Personalize a coffee house gift card by "crafting" the recipient's favorite drink. Ask the barista for an empty cup and fill it with things that resemble the ingredients of the drink. To make a faux iced frappe, fill a clear drink cup with coffee beans and add cotton balls for the whipped cream. The gift card can go inside of the cup or be taped to or hung from the straw. Or make the presentation tastier by filling the cup with chocolate-covered espresso beans topped with marshmallows.

For an alternative to recreating a drink, put the card in a coffee mug that the recipient would appreciate, such as one with a sentimental message, the logo of their favorite sports team or television show, or the name of a city or destination that they visited this year.

3.     KICK IT OLD SCHOOL.  Today's music downloading and online gaming gift cards give parents and grandparents endless opportunities to show kids how music and games were played "back in the day." To personalize any music or online gaming gift card, use an old record album and pair it with some new, neon ear buds ($14.99 at Safeway) tied in a bow. The gift card can be taped the album's label or tied to the album with the ear buds.

4.     GIFT CARD SNUGGIE.  Most stores have an assortment of unique gift card holders near the gift card or greeting card display. A teddy bear with a stocking to hold the gift card ($8.99 at Safeway) can complement a Toys "R" Us gift card. Many gift card holders can double as tree ornaments. Place candy in the holder so the recipient gets an immediate treat, as well as one when the card is redeemed.

5.     INSPIRE GREATNESS.  Encourage a friend's inner Mark Twain by giving a journal and a bookmark with a personal note.  This is a great way to personalize a book store gift card, whether the card is used at a bricks and mortar store or online for an actual book or digital copy.

6.     HOME SWEET HOME IMPROVEMENT.  Cheer on their big remodeling project with a home improvement store gift card attached to a new paint brush, pair of work gloves, screw driver or any other tool that will be used on the job. Try replacing a paint can's label with your own holiday message and hanging the gift card from the can's handle.

7.     A LASTING MEMORY.   Practically any gift card can be personalized with a special holiday decoration or ornament that will last and serve as a reminder of your kindness long after the gift card has been spent. Affix the card with strings of decorative ribbon.

8.     SILVER SCREEN SNACK TIME.  Fill a popcorn bucket with popcorn, a pair of 3-D glasses or fun stuff, along with the gift card, to capture the excitement of this season's holiday blockbusters.

9.     BANK ON IT.  Illustrate that a gift card spends like cash by giving it in or with a piggy bank. This is a particularly effective way to explain the purpose of a gift card to children. To add a little extra fun, fill the bank with pennies and make the child guess the amount inside.

10.    BOX A BITE.  A restaurant gift card is like buying lunch, so place it inside of a lunchbox, insulated lunch bag or a to-go box from the restaurant. Imagine the glee on the recipient's face when they unwrap a superhero lunchbox with a SUBWAY® gift card inside. 

CONTACTS
Teena Massingill, 925-467-3810, Teena.Massingill@Sa[email protected]
Alexia Oswald, 925-226-9218 [email protected]  

ABOUT SAFEWAY www.Safeway.com
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America, based on sales. The company operates 1,644 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion in 2011. The company's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY.

ABOUT BLACKHAWK NETWORK
Blackhawk Network, a subsidiary of Safeway Inc., is a leading provider of prepaid and financial payments products for consumers and businesses. The company's Gift Card Mall™ offers the industry's most popular prepaid gift card, telecom and financial service brands. Gift Card Mall, with access to 160 million customer visits each week, is available through a network of leading grocery stores, big box, convenience, pharmacy, specialty stores, Internet retailers and mobile channels, including GiftCardMall.com. Headquartered in Pleasanton, California, Blackhawk Network Inc. has offices in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Mexico and the United Kingdom. For more information about Blackhawk Network visit www.blackhawknetwork.com and www.giftcardmall.com.

SOURCE Safeway Inc.

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