BrandAid Forms Direct Division for Supermarket Displays

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BrandAid Marketing Corp. has started a direct response division to work with marketers on using its Supercards supermarket display units in direct marketing efforts.

The displays, which are found over the hand baskets used for shopping, are similar to those found in many bars that contain postcard-type advertisements. The Supercard displays are in 750 supermarkets nationwide, and the company expects to reach 1,700 by the end of the summer.

"By taking a card from the display, the consumer has already taken the psychological step to get involved with the brand," said Lyle Crowley, founder and vice president of marketing at BrandAid Marketing, New York. "That gives marketers a better chance of generating a response from consumers as opposed to a piece of direct mail."

Crowley said the division was formed to increase the number of potential advertisers that BrandAid can work with. It has 75 non-direct advertisers, and 15 other companies signed up for direct response campaigns.

About half of those 15 companies began running campaigns late last month, and the rest are to start campaigns next month. They include Soap Opera Digest; SewNews; Parents Magazine; Proactive Solutions; Checks Unlimited and Oreck.

Before forming the division, BrandAid had to prove that people would take the postcards and follow up on the offers. It tested the Supercards displays with AOL and EarthLink in a series of campaigns last year that put CDs for both online services in the supermarkets.

"The postcards were the way to open the door and get in the supermarkets," Crowley said. "After that we slowly moved into offering the CDs with AOL and EarthLink, and once they got a good response and proved to be highly effective we were able to launch the direct response division."

AOL has provided BrandAid with 3 million CDs and Earthlink has given it more than 1.5 million. Crowley said most of the CDs were taken, and that while he could not discuss response numbers, results far exceeded what both companies had anticipated. For AOL and EarthLink a response was described as someone taking the CD from the rack and eventually signing up for the service.

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