Many catalogers are challenged to boost revenue in tough economic times. Bedding and home decor mailer The Company Store, part of Weehawken, NJ-based Hanover Direct, has taken an unconventional path to this goal: In its May edition, the cataloger ran a full-page ad for Snuggle fabric softener.
Advertising, says Company Store vice president of marketing Pete Bather, is “a great alternative revenue stream when you’re trying to offset cost increases,” such as the upcoming postal rate hike. “We’re running the ad to generate some money; Snuggle is looking for a new channel, a new medium with which to run an image campaign,” he says.
Snuggle manufacturer Lever Brothers Co. viewed Company Store as a good place “to showcase our creative and communicate our message of softness,” says Neil Capobiance, associate planning director for the brand’s New York-based ad agency, MindShare. “We can show our message and product relevance among the quilts, sheets, and pillows offered in the catalog to drive home our message.”
Bather won’t reveal how much Company Store is charging Snuggle, other than to say that, in terms of cost-per-thousand circulation, the amount is similar to what a typical national advertiser pays to run in a mainstream consumer magazine. For Company Store, Bather says, the profit from the ad is 50% more than that from a typical catalog page. The ad appears on page 49 of the 88-page book.
As for customer reaction, Bather says that in his talks with Company Store order-takers, he’s heard of no negative reactions. Many customers “have found it more of a curiosity.”
As part of its deal with Snuggle, Company Store is also placing sample packets of the product in all orders. And on a page selling children’s bedding elsewhere in its catalog, the mailer runs a postage-stamp-size shot of the Snuggle teddy bear.
Snuggle ads will appear six other editions of The Company Store catalog this year — about one-third of the mailer’s editions.