Walgreens Says That All Prescriptions Count For Balance Rewards Program, But Not Quite

Image courtesy of MousePrint

When the word “all” appears in an ad, are you supposed to take it literally? That’s a good question, and it’s an important question when it comes to how Walgreens advertises its Balance Rewards program. The store’s marketing claims that “all” prescriptions are part of Balance Rewards, but that is not true.

MousePrint noticed this discrepancy in a TV ad promoting the prescription rewards program, noting that the commercial promotes the program by telling customers that they can earn rewards points on all of their prescriptions, with the emphasis on “all.”

Only Mouseprint-decipherer-in-chief Edgar Dworsky knows better than to believe the ad, since he has personal experience with which prescriptions earn points, and knows that his maintenance prescriptions don’t earn points. He checked. Prescriptions like his that come from the mail-order service that Walgreens runs to get customers 90-day refills aren’t eligible.

This makes sense, of course: the goal of the program is to get customers into the store more often. Receiving their drugs in a package in the mail every three months means that customers visit the store to visit the pharmacy rarely, if ever.

The only mention of this that you see on the screen is where it says “Other restrictions apply” in the commercial. Dworsky contacted Walgreens to find out why this information was missing from the ad, and received a response that said in part,

“As stated on our website in the Frequently Asked Questions, only prescriptions picked up in-store are eligible to earn Balance Rewards points at this time.”

The ad directs customers to the store for details, and Dworsky notes that the information isn’t available on the site’s Frequently Asked Questions page. It’s elsewhere on the site.

A few days later, the proper disclaimers explaining the rules appeared on the site. Will they be added to the TV ads? If they are, it will be in tiny print that most customers probably won’t notice.

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