dads Mail Campaign Draws Subscribers to New Magazine

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Fathers will finally have a magazine to call their own with dads, a magazine aimed at men in the parenting mode that publishes its premiere issue in June.

The direct mail package, sent to 500,000 prospects this month, was the first phase in a push to build circulation for the bimonthly, which is guaranteeing a minimum rate base of 200,000.

"The launch will tie in with Father's Day," said Walter Rosenthal, managing partner and marketing director at dads, which is part of Dads Media LLC, New York.

The magazine is the brainchild of Rosenthal and Seth Kean, managing partner and publisher, who were colleagues at special-interest publisher EMAP Petersen Inc., now known as EMAP USA. Eric Garland, managing partner and editor, is the third member of the management team. Before that, Garland was senior editor at Money magazine, Time Inc.'s personal finance book. The project is backed by private investors.

The magazine will likely skew toward a subscriber base, but promotions at newsstands and through retail locations will be part of the launch strategy.

"It'll definitely be more subscription driven, although we'll do heavy promotions at newsstands, especially airports, train stations [and] bus stations," Rosenthal said. Agreements with most national bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble and Waldenbooks are in place.

The direct mail packages, designed by Meryl Randman Design, New York, contain an offer of six issues for $10. Price testing will be done after the launch, but the current price is its rollout offer.

"dads is such a broad market," Rosenthal said. "There are 38 million fathers in the United States and so many different ways to reach them." Working in tandem with The Lake Group, Rye, NY, names were chosen from various sources, including magazine subscriber lists, catalog customers and association member lists.

Palm Coast Data, Palm Coast, FL, will handle fulfillment. And, the next direct mail package - to more than one million prospects - will go out in April and, thereafter, dads will mail subscription offers roughly four times a year. The remaining mailings for calendar year 2000 are slated for June, September and December.

A Web site,, will launch concurrently with the print magazine. The firm's partnerships and affiliate relationships with marketers and associations will help drive traffic to the site, which will contain a subscription offer. Other ways of building circulation will include cooperative advertising. The program ideally would include product samples, coupons and other targeted advertising from relevant marketers, such as toy retailers, along with a subscription card. "It's [offering samples, etc.] something we'll do within the first year of business," Smith said.

In addition to co-op programs, other alternative media will include card decks, traditional school agents and continuous service agents, such as New Sub Services, which promotes magazine subscriptions in credit card billing statements. "The traditional school agents are kind of perfect for a magazine like this," according to Rosenthal, although stampsheets probably won't be used. "With the state of the stampsheet agents right now, we don't feel we'll be able to get much production out of them."

Slow and steady circulation building seems to be the mantra at dads. "We're looking at somewhat conservative growth," said Rosenthal. A goal of 275,000 by the second year and 350,000 by year three are the desired pace of incremental growth.

"We want to make sure we're delivering what we promise," he said.

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