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Ads on plastic delivery bags.

NEWSPAPERS ARE NOW using the polyethylene bags, which normally serve as protection from the elements, in another way: as a means to sell advertising.

Bemis Polyethylene Co.,Terre Haute, Ind., which deals in packaging, such as plastic wrapping and candy wrapping, has recently added newspapers to its list of clients.

Chad Miller, specialty markets representative for Bemis, said that for the past year and a half, his company has been printing (primarily advertising) on the plastic bags that papers use for insertion.

Bemis can print just about anything on its bags, and with "virtual magazine quality," explained Miller. "We can print a process image up to eight-color," he said.

Among Bemis' clients are the Wall Street journal, Gannett, and the Sunflower Group. Each paper takes care of its own ad sales -- Bemis supplies the printed bag.

"We are a poly manufacturer, not in ad sales, and we stick to what we do best," said Miller.

A company called FrontCover of Denver, Colo., takes care of the ad sales exclusively for the Wall Street Journal's poly bags, as well as the distribution.

Dick Miller, president of FrontCover explained his company sells poly bag advertising only. FrontCover approaches national advertisers for the Journal, although the company will accept both national and regional buys.

Ad bags sold by FrontCover reach about 500,000 of the Journal's 1.8 million subscribers, predominantly suburban, homeowner readers. Paul Atkinson, vice president of advertising for the Journal, said that although poly bag advertising is not a part of a major marketing strategy, for the journal (he described it more as a viable marketing experiment), it does provide three main benefits: an incremental source of revenue for the company, another direct marketing opportunity for advertisers, and a cost offset to circulation.

Bemis also supplies poly bags to the Washington Post -- specifically when the paper needs printing on the bags.

Fred Leftrict Jr., marketing manager in the advertising department at the Post, explained the paper's relationship with Bemis: the paper sends Bemis the artwork, Bemis prints the artwork on the bags, and then Bemis sends the bags back to the Post.

Unlike the Journal, the Post's own sales staff takes care of selling the advertising for the bags. All sates display representatives -- national and local can sell the advertising for the bags.

The bags are sent by ZIP code to subscribers who primarily live in single-family homes and townhomes.

Leftrict said the Post started advertising on poly bags in May 1995, and the first advertiser was regional. Other advertisers noticed, and from there, interest increased.

The Post sells poly bag advertising to regional advertisers out of its Washington office; and its New York City office sells poly bag advertising to national advertisers, who are primarily interested in inserting samples. Maureen McTague, New sales manager for the that her office trucks competitive media, recognizes who has needs for sampling, then her staff directs their efforts that way.


Sometime this month, Continental Products, a manufacturer of newspaper circulation supplies, is scheduled to launch a direct mail campaign which will inform 2,400 advertisers and advertising agencies about AdBAGS, its program which will offer the opportunity to print advertising on the plastic newspaper delivery bags it produces.

AdBAGS is a one-order/one-bill service, and according to Carl Fuemmeler, president of Continental, the AdBAGS sales staff will take care of all of the selling and printing arrangements.

Fuemmeler said he wants AdBAGS to attract national advertisers who don't normally advertise in newspapers.

"Our objective is absolutely not to interfere with the sales efforts of newspapers, themselves," he said. "The last thing we want to do is pull ROP out of the papers and on to the bags.

"We will provide a coordinative effort between the advertiser and the newspaper," Fuemmeler said. "Our objective is within five days, we will have all papers confirmed and will know where the bags wiu go."

A target profit for newspapers is $30 for every 1,000 bags used, according to Fuemmeler. The cost to the advertiser will vary per product, but Fuemmeler said a good, approximate price range is $65 to $100 per 1,000 bags.

Chicago Tribune realigns focus of ad department

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE'S advertising department is changing the way it will conduct business, following a reorganization on Jan. 1.

According to the newspaper's employee newsletter, the paper's ad department will be creating "communities of customers," meaning sales territories will focus more on categories of business and less on geography.

"We are aligning our organization with the way our customers do business and trying to build knowledge-based relationships with them," explained Dennis Grant, vice president/director of advertising. "Many of our customers buy media in similar ways, and we're grouping them by die way they buy and market their own products."

Salespeople will be required to become experts in specific areas rather than dealing with a variety of different businesses.

"They'll be handling only food, for example, and will be more knowledgeable about their category of business," Grant said. These changes will also require salespeople to offer advertisers media solutions rather than just the opportunity to buy ad space in the Tribune.

"We've always aligned ourselves against print media," said Grant, "and now there are so many more options, whether it's electronic, broadcast, print. We have to provide customers with packages to meet their needs. If that involves other Tribune business, we're in the position to do that."

Dave Murphy, director of sales, said, "The solution, in fact, might not be an ad. It might be information, it might be a change in location ... or it might be using more radio in conjunction with a newspaper buy." Murphy mentioned his staff will identify its customers' business problems, and try to provide information which will solve those problems.

Before, the advertising department was broken down into three areas: retail, classified, and national/general. These categories have been broken down even further. For example, retail is now divided into two parts: key accounts and regional, the article explained.

The sales staff will also be compensated differently. Previously, employees were paid 80% salary and 20% commission. Now, they'll be paid closer to an average of 60% salary and 40% commission.

Sunday inserts are largest coupon source

CONSUMERS REPORTED THAT Sunday newspaper color inserts were their largest source of cents-off coupons, according to a recently released study by Donnelley Marketing, Inc.

The company's 17th annual survey of promotional practices showed that the three primary sources for coupons were Sunday papers (86% of consumer respondents), mail (73%), and product package (66%).

"However, Sunday newspaper color leaflets (67%) and mail (59%) are the coupon sources which consumers prefer," the report stated.

Targeted electronic retail promotions were among the least preferred means of receiving coupons, with only 9% of consumers opting for it.

The survey covered the period from Oct. 28,1994, to Feb. 10, 1995. A total of 1,125 questionnaires were sent out and 847 (or 75%) were returned, Donnelley said.

The study found that "coupon usage remains high," noting that 88% of all consumers used grocery or health and beauty aid products in the last six months of the period and that about eight in 10 shoppers used the same number of coupons (54%) or more coupons (28%) in 1994 than in 1993.

"Coupons," the report said, "continue to influence brand choice decisions with consumers" reporting that they "usually, look through coupons when planning their shopping trips (52%)" and "often purchase a brand name for which they have a product coupon (38%)."

Nearly 30% of respondents used coupons on all shopping trips and nearly half (45%) used three to seven coupons weekly, with little variation in weekly expenditure among them.
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Author:Reina, Laura
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Feb 10, 1996
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