Dale and Thomas Popcorn Slim-jims Down

Oct 18, 2007 3:26 AM  By

Rather than eat the costs of the May postal rate hike, Dale and Thomas Popcorn has put its catalog on a diet. The popcorn mailer has cuts its costs significantly by changing its trim size to a slim-jim.

“For the past two years, we had a square book that was 8-3/8″ X 8-3/8″,” says Frank Benintendo, chief creative officer for Dale and Thomas. Though he wasn’t a fan of slim-jim catalogs, Benintendo saw the potential cost savings associated with them.

“We kind of jumped into the slim-jim because it would’ve cost $0.40 to mail our square book under the new postal rates this year,” he says. “We wanted to know what’s the quickest and least resistant path we can take. Last year we mailed the square book for $0.27.”

By switching to a slim-jim catalog, with dimensions of 6-1/8″ X 10-3/4″, Benintendo says the company saved $0.06 per book, mailing at $0.21 per book. What’s more, he says Dale and Thomas nearly doubled circulation–from 1 million last year to 2 million this year–and increased page size from 24 to 32. The Englewood, NJ-based mailer also kept the same weight of paper–70 lbs.–for the slim-jim catalog.

And instead of printing what he terms a “traditional” slim-jim catalog, Benintendo says he “turned it on its end,” so it opens “calendar-style. There is better visibility this way. We hope that it stands out in the mail, stays around, and has a shelf life.”

The new catalog mailed in mid-August to corporate customers and the consumer book dropped at the end of September. A second corporate mailing hit in early October. The first-month projections for the August book are above expectations. As such, Benintendo has changed his tune about slim-jim catalogs. “It was a real win-win situation for us right out of the gate,” he says.