*Sesame Street Debuts Kids Club

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Sesame Street launched its first-ever affinity club yesterday, which it will promote through direct mail packages, an inbound teleservices campaign and the Web.

Caroline Farnsworth, vice president of new business development for the publishing group at Children's Television Workshop, New York, whose primary property is Sesame Street, said there will be no direct mail packages exclusively promoting the club, called Sesame Street Laugh and Learn Club. Instead fliers, package inserts and notices will be mailed with a number of Sesame Street's other products.

"The goal of this first phase is to test and see what's out there, if there is going to be a big enough market," she said. "We will be sending out notices in our CD-ROM continuity program, our new business subscriber and renewal mailings for our magazines and an eventual direct e-mail campaign."

Farnsworth could not disclose the actual number of pieces going out. "[At] this stage, testing and finding what the opportunity is more important than the number of mailings," she said.

Parents also will be able to call the 1-800-BIG-BIRD number that will be placed on retail products and product packaging. The toll-free number also will appear at the end of the "Sesame Street" TV show. The fulfillment package will include a number of educational toys and games such as a Sesame Street book, story cards and an Elmo magnetic frame and poster.

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