Magazine article Editor & Publisher

More Than 300 Papers to Get Toys R Us Insert

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

More Than 300 Papers to Get Toys R Us Insert

Article excerpt

THE SELF-PROCLAIMED "world's biggest toy store" is planning what may be the biggest toy catalog ever inserted into newspapers.

On Nov. 7, Toys R Us is slated to insert a 72-page, four-color, 8 1/2 x 11-inch catalog with more than $450 in coupons in over 300 newspapers across the United States, with a total circulation of 50 million.

In addition, the week before the insert, the company is planning 30- and 60-second television spots telling consumers to check their Sunday paper for the catalog and local radio spots will give the name of the newspaper in that market carrying the insert.

"It's pretty big," noted Nicholas Cannistraro Jr., senior vice president/sales and marketing and chief marketing officer of the Newspaper Association of America.

Free-standing inserts, such as those from couponers Valassis and Quad Marketing, often reach "about the same level of circulation, but the book size is not nearly as big, and this is one advertiser," Cannistraro said. "It's the biggest in terms of page volume and in terms of circulation in anyone's memory.

"At the local level, retailers have distributed catalogs close to this size," he added. "The point is, there's never one national retailer who's done it sort of everywhere simultaneously."

Aside from the sheer size of the catalog, using additional media to create awareness not only will benefit Toys R Us but also the newspapers.

"Toys R Us has created an event to reach their target audience," explained NAA vice president/director of retail marketing Deborah Hernan.

"To me, the key emphasis here is that for all that has been said about newspapers being passe as an advertising vehicle in an era of target marketing, here is a retailer who's shown how to create an event," Hernan said, suggesting that others "look at this type of media mix to create an advertising event.

"People are really busy. There isn't any one medium that can do it all. You need to do media mix to cover all your bases," she said, adding that is what the "smart advertiser" will do.

Another key to newspapers' attractiveness, Hernan pointed out, is that it can reach grandparents, parents, kids, aunts and uncles across the board.

"They wanted to do something really big," she explained. "In talking about their target audience, it is really everyone -- parents, kids, grandparents."

Further, with such "universal distribution," family members can call a child's parents to discuss what toys the child might want for the holidays.

"It is a very useful way to get out a Christmas wish list," Hernan noted. …

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