Branded Payments Leaders and Innovators Recognized at Blackhawk Network’s Thirteenth Annual Hawk Awards

2019 winners announced at Blackhawk Summit in San Antonio, Texas

PLEASANTON, Calif. – May 23, 2019 – Global branded payments leader Blackhawk Network has announced the winners of its 13th annual Hawk Awards, which recognize leaders and innovators in the U.S. branded payments industry.

“Every year, the Hawk Awards give Blackhawk the opportunity to celebrate collaborative innovation with our partners as we shape the future of global branded payments together,” said Talbott Roche, chief executive officer and president of Blackhawk Network. “Our partners continue to push the boundaries of innovation in the industry year after year and we are thrilled to once again honor the Hawk Awards winners and finalists who have distinguished themselves as a source of inspiration for the whole industry.

Category winners were announced at the Hawk Awards Gala on April 17, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas during Blackhawk’s 2019 Summit—an acclaimed three-day partner event featuring informative content and networking activities. Summit attendees were invited to cast their votes for several categories on-site via the event app.


The 2019 Hawk Awards categories and recipients are:

Industry Achievement: Recognizes a company or individual making an outstanding contribution to the branded payments industry

Google Play: Honored for making it easy for people to connect with branded payments globally. Whether through music and movies, games or books, Google Play enables consumers to purchase their branded payment products though brick-and-mortar, first party sales, and B2B platforms. In addition to rapidly growing its distribution network globally, Google Play continues to capitalize on digital solutions and to bring the story of gaming to retail.

Industry Innovation: Recognizes a company or individual making the greatest contribution to the advancement of the industry

Archway Marketing Services: Honored for transforming gift card logistic management through a multi-year project developed to custom engineer automation for gift card delivery to stores. An industry first, Archway Marketing Services’ innovative system has been designed to double the daily capacity of shipped gift cards and support dramatic business growth.

Best Customer Brand Engagement: Recognizes the most powerful use of gift cards to engage more deeply with customers

Chase: Honored for providing participating merchants with extensive and targeted marketing support. With over 100 of its Ultimate Rewards® promotions executed in 2018, Chase continues to drive merchant sales while providing consumers with the branded payment of their choosing.

Best Multichannel Strategy: Recognizes the most effective use of multiple channels to optimize gift card distribution

Kroger: Honored for leveraging deep data and cutting-edge analytics to build an effective program across multiple verticals. Kroger drives acquisition and increases purchasing among loyal users by communicating directly with the consumer via email or targeted offers, providing access through its gift card mall and various touchpoints throughout its stores, and engaging consumers through its new digital solutions.

Best Omnichannel Strategy: Recognizes the best use of omnichannel to create a seamless customer experience

Giant Eagle: Honored for launching its mobile wallet to provide consumers with a seamless experience in using its fuel rewards program. Giant Eagle makes it easy for consumers to add their coupons, track their rewards and store their gift cards all in one place.

Best Use of eCommerce: Recognizes the most innovative use of ecommerce to increase gift card sales

Subway®Honored for its “Gift-A-Cookie” initiative whereby the purchaser and recipient feel like they are giving and receiving a cookie, a personalized approach to distributing eGift Cards. Subway® will continue to drive this successful, product-based gifting program through 2019.

Best Collaborative Marketing Program by a Distribution Partner: Recognizes the Distribution Partner that created the most innovative or effective promotion

Samsung Pay: Honored for offering innovative B2C connections and promotions including push notifications, geo-targeting, and in-app placement. In Spring 2018, Samsung Pay created a promotion that rewarded customers with a $10 gift card when they used their Mastercard via Samsung Pay three or more times, generating considerable value in actionable data and sales results.

Best Collaborative Marketing Program by a Content Partner: Recognizes the Content Partner that created the most innovative or effective promotion.

Olive Garden®: Honored for its partnership with Giant Eagle to create an innovative program in which the consumer received an Olive Garden Salad Dressing with the purchase of a $25 Olive Garden gift card. This promotion not only showcased the strong partnership between these two teams, but also highlighted how working with another grocery category can help promote gift cards in a fun, innovative way.

Best Branded Payments Innovation: Recognizes the most innovative use or development of branded payments

Starbucks: Honored for continuing to keep its consumers engaged by appealing to everyday gifting moments and occasions. Starbucks ensures its brand is available across brick-and-mortar, digital, ecommerce (including a mobile app), and B2B platforms.

Best Reward-Based Incentive Program: Recognizes a company with the most powerful use of branded payments in an incentive program.

Discount Tire: Honored for utilizing reward cards to acquire new customers, retain current customers and ultimately grow top line sales. Discount Tire’s dedication to the customer experience allows for an online rebate submission process that is easy to follow and allows rebates to be processed within days.


About Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network delivers branded payment programs to meet our partners’ business objectives. We collaborate with our partners to innovate, translating market trends in branded payments to increase reach, loyalty and revenue. With a presence in over 26 countries, we reliably execute branded payment programs in over 100 countries worldwide. Join us as we shape the future of global branded payments.

Blackhawk is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, please visit blackhawknetwork.com.

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