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RDA launches multimedia partnership with Rick Warren

Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) has finalized plans with celebripastor Rick Warren to create a new membership-based business segment.

“Purpose Driven Connection,” named after Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” book, delivers a quarterly magazine, DVD and study materials to members for a $29 fee. Membership in “Purpose Driven” also allows full access to a Christian social networking Web site.

“This venture is consistent with RDA’s business vision to grow by building and/or serving communities of customers based around branded content,” Alyce Alston, president of RDA’s Home and Garden and Health and Wellness affinities, wrote in an e-mail interview. “In this instance, the Purpose Driven brand and community are already globally established through the remarkable work of our partner Rick Warren.  We are bringing to the table several of our core competencies — magazine creation and publishing, digital skills, and the strength of our global footprint.”

The Christian market is a major target for RDA’s new Purpose Driven venture, but marketing will also reach out to a broader audience of people who are “seeking purpose in their lives,” Alston noted.

William Adler, VP, global communications, RDA, added, “The market may be new to us but is not dissimilar to our traditional mainstream audience.”

Print advertising for “Purpose Driven” will appear in Reader’s Digest magazine starting in January 2009. The marketing push will also include online and TV ads and direct mail.

RDA plans to print 450,000 copies of the program’s affiliated magazine — which will also be named “Purpose Driven Connection” — for global distribution.

The launch fits in with RDA’s long-running attempt at overhauling and extending the brand past its “traditional” image. Since a private equity takeover of the company nearly 2 years ago, RDA has launched multiple new brands and focused on more global and digital growth.


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