Deep-Rooted Reader Connection Bolsters Longstanding Insert Program

Longevity and loyalty are the keys to success for a pair of 24-year-old insert programs from Ogden Publications that ride along with magazines founded in the late 1800s.

Capper's and Grit are institutions to many of their nearly 700,000 combined subscribers who eagerly await the arrival of these monthly print publications. Neither has newsstand distribution.

Capper's, founded in 1879, is a family-oriented publication that includes news, human interest features and reader contributions. Grit was founded in 1882, and it focuses on the positive in today's world and also contains articles and reader input.

The typical reader of Capper's and Grit is female, older than 56 and lives in a C or D county. Most subscribers are grandparents, averaging eight grandchildren.

“The audience feels a real connection to the magazine, with lots of reader-to-reader requests for information, recipes, entertaining tidbits, crossword puzzles and more,” said Sherry Johnston, director of special projects at Ogden Publications, Topeka, KS. “The number one challenge for marketers is connecting with consumers and getting their attention. Utilizing a program like Capper's or Grit generates an automatic connection and greater opportunity for the insert to be seen and reacted to.”

Readers spend an average of 76.5 minutes with Capper's and Grit, Johnston said, and Ogden's latest readership study found that the average subscriber had read 3.6 of the past four issues.

A unique feature of the programs is that they can take oversize inserts and still keep their cost at $60/M.

“Many insert programs have strict insert size requirements but the Capper's and Grit programs handle inserts ranging from 3 by 5 [inches] to 9 by 10,” Johnston said. “Most magazines require inserts to be bound in to avoid the postal ride-along fee. The Capper's and Grit [polybagged] format bypasses the postal ride-along fees, generating substantial savings to the advertiser. The advertisers can also be more creative with their pieces.”

The publications are printed in Wheeling, WV, and sorted and bagged to the carrier route level, so there's little risk of inserts falling out, she added.

Typical offers that ride along with Capper's and Grit include the gardening, apparel, continuity, general merchandise and collectibles categories, said Dean Barile, senior vice president, insert media at American List Counsel, Princeton, NJ.

“It's not your traditional program but their readers are very responsive,” Barile said. “Their readers are middle America and very loyal buyers. Once they have an affinity to a product or company, they stick with them.”

Marketers such as Craftmatic, Silkies, Blair, Paula Young, The Danbury Mint and Cosmetique have used the programs. But Barile said there are other markets that should test them.

“Surprisingly, we don't see that many health offers, and that is a great fit for these programs,” Barile said. “Publishing is another example, and they will take publishing offers even though they are a publisher.” Given the number of grandchildren that subscribers have, children's merchandise also would be a good fit, he said.

ALC in July began to offer space advertising programs in Capper's and Grit. Ads can be black and white or four-color with prices varying by size and color.

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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