New Co-Ops Target Babies, Seniors

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Manhattan Response Group has entered the cooperative mail arena and will roll out three programs this spring aimed at new parents and seniors.

The affiliate of statement and free standing insert marketer Media Syndications Global, New York, is relaunching the Bundle of Joy co-op -- previously operated by Transamerica Holdings -- with three separate programs and is testing a new co-op for the senior market.

The co-ops are an extension of Media Syndications' other low cost, mass distribution media and can take advantage of cross-selling opportunities and cost savings from economies of scale in production and media buying, according to MRG senior account executive Tim Sullivan.

Bundle of Joy, which started 30 years ago, is a monthly co-op mailing of 175,000 pieces that reaches new parents in the weeks following their child's birth. Bundle of Joy-Baby's First Foods and Birthday Bash will test 250,000-piece mailings in April, August and October with monthly drops of 200,000 planned for 2000. The Young at Heart senior co-op will drop tests of 250,000 in April and 500,000 in August and October with plans for quarterly drops of two million in 2000. Each envelope contains up to 28 advertising inserts and coupons. Category exclusivity is available.

Bundle of Joy-Baby's First Foods will be mailed to reach mothers with babies in the four- to five-month age range that are making the transition from formula to solid foods. Bundle of Joy-Baby's Birthday Bash will hit homes one to two months before a baby's first birthday. Names for both co-ops are compiled based on the date of birth from hospital records, newspaper announcements, magazine subscriptions and childbirth education course registration lists.

Sullivan said targeting a specific life change distinguishes the new Bundle of Joy programs from other co-ops that reach new parents. The cancellation of the Just Delivered co-op from Cox Direct for 1999 because of lists not being available also has created an opportunity in that market, he said.

MRG also is testing a Young at Heart co-op for health conscious consumers age 50 and over. Names for the April test have been culled from demographic overlays on the 12-month buyer files of the TransAmerica catalogs Anthony Richards, Beauty Boutique, Healthy Living and Windsor Collection.

"The senior market is definitely in a growth phase," Sullivan said. "We think it will do well because names are proven mail-order buyers not compiled names."
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