*Reader's Digest Subscribers Receive Personalized Offer From Chrysler

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For the first time in the history of Reader's Digest its more than 11.5 million subscribers will receive a personalized offer from a major retailer on the back page of the magazine this month in the form of what it calls a reverse z-gatefold.

The offer is from Chrysler, Auburn Hills, MI, for its Sebring line of cars and will be part of the issue that went out in late September.

Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, NY, had not previously used the back page of the magazine for such a personalized pitch. Four years ago it used the z-gatefold, a perforated tearaway card added onto the last page, to run a branding campaign with Hallmark.

This time the z-gatefold contains the name and mailing address of the recipient printed alongside a short personalized message. The message asks recipients to visit the nearest Chrysler dealer with the card, test drive a new Sebring vehicle and receive a free Reader's Digest-branded gift. Pictures of the different Sebring models are displayed above the message. On the reverse side is a description of the gift, a book on the most scenic rides to be taken in America, and an informational section to be filled out at the dealership.

"The consumer is becoming more and more detached because of the way they are being hit with ads from every direction, from all of the different types of media," said Dom Rossi, publisher of Reader's Digest. "They can't turn around without someone trying to get to them at times they probably don't want to be bothered. It is becoming harder for the marketer to effectively connect with the consumer and we think this provides a good place for them to do that.

"Our readers ... spend an average of 81 minutes reading our magazine. There is a certain level of comfort that they have with us and I don't believe this will have any adverse effect. It has the ability to create a much higher level of personalization than a sound bite can. We can also do it on a scale that no one else can."

Rossi said the publication can segment its database and target certain parts of it. But since Chrysler felt the majority of the Reader's Digest database fit the demographic for Sebring owners, the car manufacturer targeted all of its subscribers. Rossi also said that since the database is provided for the marketer, it can run a campaign like this at a much more cost-effective rate than a company running its own direct mail campaign.

"I think this is going to prove to be very effective and catch on with other magazines," said Olivier Lecocq, senior manager of advertising at Chrysler.

Lecocq said the company has never done a personalized mailing this large for a specific product.

"We know that the readers fit into the demographic we would normally go after with this product, but that is all we know about them," Lecocq said. "Because of that, we are not considering this a highly targeted campaign. It is impactful and unexpected and we think that is going to help capture their attention."

The ad for the program, which is the same one Chrysler runs in other print publications, was designed by advertising agency FCB, Detroit. The ad is a two-page display at the end of the magazine. It contains a small amount of text and asks people to call a toll-free number or visit www.chrysler.com for more information.

Rossi said there are currently no plans to run another campaign for the November issue, but he said the publication is working with several major retailers regarding similar campaigns.

Lecocq said Chrysler paid the regular media cost and for the production of the card "and there was no discount or premium offered."

Neither organization would disclose the cost of the campaign. However, the three-page unit used by Chrysler has been established at a rate-card rate of approximately $1 million.

There are no response numbers for the campaign as of yet.

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