Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Journal News' Egg-Cites Patrons

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Journal News' Egg-Cites Patrons

Article excerpt

Nothing's finer than a promo in the diner

Place mat lays it on the table: Easy-to-digest marketing

It's a classic example of food for thought.

Marie Smyth had just joined Gannett Co. Inc.'s Journal News in New York's well-to-do Westchester and Rockland counties, when her boss gave her something to chew on: Grabbing a bigger piece of the pie in an intensely competitive market.

"He wanted us to come up with a very grassroots promotion," recalls Smyth, who joined The Journal News with a consumer-package-goods background (Mott's apple sauce and, before that, Kraft). Her boss, Vice President of Market Development John Green, made it clear that the new campaign had to go beyond the standard advertising fare on TV, radio, and billboards.

Smyth and her group's inspiration started brewing with the question, "Where does it make best sense for a newspaper promotion to be noticed?"

"The first thing that came to everybody's mind," said Smyth, director of consumer marketing, "was a cup of coffee." Then she egged them on, and they really started to cook: diners! There are dozens of diners dotting her on-the-run commuter territory.

Coffee, bagel, newspaper.

It was right there, with those Art Deco and 1950s-kitsch eateries on the radar screen, that somebody came up with the perfect recipe: The way to really get in the face of patrons at these diners was through the humble place mat -- lively, four-color place mats promoting everything at The Journal News from spring gardening tips to a fall color guide, and from the newspaper's Web site to its wide variety of community events. …

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