Magazine Inserts Prove a Clean Winner for Method

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Though the people at fledgling household cleaning products company Method may be anti-dirt, they are pro-direct marketing, especially insert media after successfully testing and rolling out a magazine insert effort that began last year.

Method was founded in 1999 and soon offered a line of natural and biodegradable spray cleaners in eye-catching packages. By 2002, the company added dish soap to its product line, with hand wash and floor cleaner following in 2003 and laundry products and candles in 2004.

However, one thing the company lacked was a direct marketing campaign of any sort.

"As a startup we don't have a lot of money, so we had to find an economical way to do something that was different and would stand out," said Jen Drubner, director of influencer marketing at San Francisco-based Method.

Method explored its options with Miami agency Crispin, Porter & Bogusky and settled on a magazine insert with a direct response mechanism.

"They do such unique and out-of-the-box things, and this insert was just a really great way to get people to interact with the brand, especially since we are so young and new," Drubner said. "We wanted to do an ad campaign in a magazine, and we felt that this was right for us in terms of any sort of direct marketing."

The insert designed by Crispin had a plain brown paper outer wrap featuring Method's "people against dirty" slogan covering a 20-page, 5 1/2-by-5-inch color booklet with quirky copy and vivid product photographs.

The offer was for a Method starter kit of home cleaning products at a cost of $24.99. The insert featured a unique URL of to track response. The insert dropped for the first time in the May 2004 issues of Real Simple and O magazines. It was inserted into subscriber copies only, numbering more than 1 million for each magazine.

"Since we are very small, dropping in two magazines was a very big deal for us," Drubner said.

Method does not release numbers, but Drubner said the results were very good. The starter kits are sold only through the inserts so Method can track response. And the company rolled out the insert campaign to more magazines this year. The inserts were updated with some new products and placed into the June issues of Real Simple, the July issues of Martha Stewart Living, Lucky and Self and the July/August issues of Dwell and Organic Style. Once again, they went into subscriber copies only.

According to current data cards for the files, Martha Stewart Living has more than 1.2 million active subscribers; Lucky, 600,800; Self, 851,200; Dwell, 155,000; and Organic Style, 481,700.

Drubner credited the creative insert design for making a big impact.

"We don't feel the response in a single page or in a spread would have been the same because we are such a young company," she said. "You can't get the messaging across in a single page."

In addition to selling starter kits, Drubner said the insert also increased Web traffic and raised awareness of the Method brand.

"Aside from buying the kit, people have also written to Method to say they loved the booklet and our products," she said, noting that Method likely will continue using inserts in the future. "People also said they loved the look of our products but didn't know that they were environmentally friendly and learned more about us at our Web site."

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting


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