Hispanic Co-op Program Delivers Door-to-Door Values

The Back-to-School edition of La Canasta de Valores, a new direct-to-door cooperative marketing program, is scheduled to reach 1 million Hispanic households this week without the help of the U.S. Postal Service.

La Canasta de Valores, which translates to The Basket of Values, was created by Alternative Delivery Solutions Inc. based on a program that its chief executive started in Mexico in the early 1990s.

“When we started to develop the program in Mexico they wanted to mail everything, but the postal service was pretty poor down there and everything was delayed, so we started going door-to-door and it worked out very well,” said Dub Doyal, CEO of Alternative Delivery Solutions, the direct marketing subsidiary of ADS Media Group, San Antonio. “We decided we'd go ahead and build our U.S. co-op like we did in Mexico, and we got a huge amount of interest.”

One advantage of not using the USPS is that participants don't need to be as concerned about costs rising due to the size or weight of their insert and/or sample. The co-op package is a polybag with the program sponsor featured on the front as well as inside the bag with the other advertisers.

The sponsor of the current Back-to-School polybag is Sprint PCS, which has done several solo direct mail programs with ADS. The package hits 1 million Hispanic homes Aug. 15-19 with three participants in addition to Sprint.

Advantages for the sponsor include category exclusivity and defrayed costs.

“For the sponsor, costs go down as the number of participants goes up,” Doyal said.

Inserts are typically bilingual.

“That is the best bet because you are often reaching multigenerational households,” Doyal said.

Five additional versions of La Canasta de Valores are planned for this year, plus six more through July 2005.

“We based the drops around holidays and events that have significance to the Hispanic community,” Doyal said.

The next few drops include themes around Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Doyal said the Labor Day version would contain more advertisers than the current drop.

The program is delivered in regions with large Hispanic populations. Distribution areas include Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose in California; Chicago; Phoenix; the Texas cities of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christi, as well as the lower Rio Grande Valley.

Delivery crews will go into each neighborhood and hang the polybag on doors, but the process doesn't stop there. Not only do crew directors supervise distribution of the bags, but field delivery supervisors also do verification of delivery one to three hours after the crews.

Paying people to deliver the packages and additional personnel to check up on them is more cost effective than mailing a piece like this, Doyal said.

Doyal hopes to expand the program next year to 2 million households and bring on new sponsors.

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