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Retail 'Friends' Offer Ad Advice

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Retail 'Friends' Offer Ad Advice

Article excerpt

TOYS R US needs the newspaper industry," Lee Richardson, vice president/advertising/, told attendees at last week's Newspaper Association of America annual convention in Chicago.

And, overall, newspapers currently get 61% of the domestic ad dollars spent by the toy retailer and Richardson doesn't see that percentage declining. But Richardson told of how over the past few years the chain has been targeting more of its print advertising by ZIP code, based on where large dusters of its customers are located. She said newspapers that can offer ZIP code distribution will be in a much more secure position to maintain or even increase the current amount of the chain's advertising.

Richardson was joined on the panel by Tom Haggai, chairman and CEO of IGA, Inc., a national, franchised, food store chain.

Both were introduced by session moderator Art Wible as "friends of newspapers; but the message they offered was that newspapers need to be doing more for their friends."

"We are committed to keeping our advertising in newspapers, Richardson said." And our special thanks to the newspapers that have responded to our challenges:

She said those who haven't, need to find ways to be more flexible to give Toys R Us a chance to distribute in their newspapers.

Richardson said five years ago the chain's ad goal was to penetrate 80% to 85% of a particular market with the feeling being that more was better. "Now, both of us know that bigger is just bigger, more is just more," she said. "The need for efficiency has caused us to change our advertising and marketing approach,"

In 1993, 29Toys R Us stores began collecting customer information on location and that process continues today. Cashiers will ask a customer for their ZIP code, for example.

Today, as a database has been developed for 1,000 stores in the "R Us" chain, not only Toys R Us, but also for its other stores like Kids R Us.

Richardson said the data gathered has shown that 30% of Toys R Us customers spend 70% of the sales taken in by the chain.

Toys R Us media mix today is 61% of ad dollars in newspapers, 25% in broadcast, 8% in direct mail, 4% in sales promotional events, and 2% in magazines.

Recently, the chain hired Newspaper Services of America to analyze its distribution patterns, recommend space buys, make ad space reservations and review invoices, among other things. Richardson on said Toys R Us has the final say, but NSA has been able to help the chain spend its newspaper ad dollars more efficiently. …

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