On-Check Advertising Offers Marketing Payday

The idea of putting offers in front of consumers on payday likely would appeal to direct marketers, and one company devised a way to do just that while also defraying payroll costs for employers.

AdChek was founded in 2000 by Todd White and Larry Wolf as a way to get marketers' messages to consumers in a new way: printing the ads along with the paychecks of large companies.

“For a lot of advertisers, it provides them access to an untapped market,” said Doug Otten, vice president of operations at AdChek, Ventura, CA. “It gives them a payday strategy and an opportunity to reach out to somebody who has a job and is receiving a paycheck.”

The program offers advertisers category exclusivity, and an ad is never distributed with more than two other ads. Pricing begins at $20 per thousand for a one-third-page ad. Ad sizes range from one-third page to a full page, which is about 8 by 6 inches and gives the advertiser complete exclusivity.

“When we do run two 8-by-3 advertisements on one check, we still offer category exclusivity so competitive offers never appear together,” Otten said.

Categories include catalog/mail order, online, entertainment, travel, telecommunications, credit card, financial services, insurance, tax preparation and health/fitness. Marketers that have used the program include American Express, AT&T, Bose, Bowflex, Carnival Cruise Lines, Chadwick's of Boston, ING Direct, NetZero, Oreck, Sharper Image, TiVo and University of Phoenix.

Otten said results were confidential but that AdChek has drawn repeat business from many clients. The implied endorsement of the employer is also a plus for the marketers, he added.

Marketers can use AdChek for national or local campaigns.

Of course, employers need an incentive to let marketers reach their employees in this way, so AdChek works with large companies that process their payroll in-house.

“Large companies that process payroll in-house have the initial cost of the payroll forms themselves,” Otten said. “What we're able to do is go in and offset that cost, in most cases up to 100 percent. So, basically they are getting their payroll checks for free, adding money to their bottom line.”

AdChek's employer partners include A&P, Kroger, United Airlines, Pathmark and Darden Restaurants, which include Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

AdChek works with several large printers to produce the forms. It can duplicate a company's existing check so that no format changes are needed from the company. AdChek also can work with the employer to reformat the checks to further decrease overall costs.

Aside from the savings on payroll forms, Otten said, employers see the ads as a perk that comes with employee paychecks.

“Companies value our program as an added benefit for their employees,” he said. “Our program delivers lifestyle promotions as well as special offers, which can also pertain to the work environment of many clients.”

He cited a restaurant company that allowed an ad for a non-skid shoe to be printed on its checks.

The check forms with the ads on them are printed and shipped to each employer, where the checks are then printed and distributed on payday.

As for the employers, Otten said one of the first was a company with about 120,000 employees and another has about 130,000. Both are experiencing 10 percent to 12 percent yearly growth in employee count, he added.

“Working with large employers provides more benefit to the advertisers,” he said.

The employer approves each offer prior to it being printed.

In terms of targeting, AdChek gets demographics from the human resources departments of the employers and can provide things such as age range, gender split and household income averages.

“We have employer groups that are executive-type people and some that are in the 19- to 25-year-old age range,” Otten said. “A lot of the restaurant companies and the grocery chains have a lot of employees in the younger demographic that are good prospects for entertainment and electronics offers.”

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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