Singer Direct Fuels Insert Media Growth With Sampling Alliance

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Recipients of direct mail packages, billing statements and catalogs soon may find surprises in the form of product samples if a partnership between insert media brokerage and management firm Singer Direct and sampling company Arcade Marketing goes as planned.


Though the insert media segment of direct marketing has experienced growth in the past few years, Singer saw a chance for even greater expansion.


"Up until around the year 2000, marketers using insert media were primarily doing package inserts, statement stuffers and ride-alongs," said Jeff Singer, president of Singer Direct Inc., Scarsdale, NY. "Then catalog blow-in and bind-in programs started to appear with more frequency, and it has really mushroomed and continues to grow to this day."


But many catalogs out there still have yet to put bind-in and blow-in programs on the market, he said.


Despite this continuing growth, Singer said his firm began to look for other new avenues to expand insert media's reach.


"We realized that there was a lack of packaged goods companies out there using our industry," he said. "We contacted a company called Arcade Marketing Inc. about three or four months ago after seeing their client list and what they do."


Arcade Marketing, New York, is a sampling company working with many known brands in the fragrance, cosmetics, consumer packaged goods, food and beverage industries. Its best-known product is the ScentStrip sampler for fragrances that most consumers would recognize from magazine bind-ins. Other sampling technologies developed by the firm allow consumers to receive product samples such as lotions and even lipstick or to smell products such as chocolates or vodka.


Arcade clients include Estee Lauder, Clinique, Avon, Mary Kay, Wella, Maybelline, Revlon, Dove, Nabisco, General Mills, Absolut and Colgate-Palmolive.


"Basically, it is a two-way street in that Arcade will introduce us to a lot of packaged goods companies and in return we will introduce their services to our clients and to the insert media industry in general," Singer said.


A lot of cosmetics and packaged goods companies will start using insert media, he added.


"Most of the clients that Arcade represents will be using these opportunities for branding purposes, and generally the offers won't be directly competitive to most direct marketers' offers," Singer said.


Singer also noted that all of the insert pieces created by Arcade are machine insertable and meet standard insert program weight and size requirements, which means no additional costs to insert them.


Though the partnership between Singer Direct and Arcade is in its early stages, Singer said that his firm had provided insert media recommendations to several of Arcade's clients.


He was able to say that Calvin Klein and Unilever soon would test programs, but not which ones or for what products.


"We're very excited about getting started," he said. "We expect this to really take off."


Insert professionals interested in more information about sampling opportunities can contact Singer Direct at 914/472-7100 or visit www.singerdirect.com. Singer will act as liaison between Arcade and the insert media industry.


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