Strange Marketing Strategy

July 27, 2005 at 7:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star pulled an odd marketing move this morning. They distributed free newspapers throughout my neighborhood. Each free newspaper was inside a plastic bag telling the recipient how he could subscribe to the Journal Star, how cool the Journal Star is, yadda yadda yadda. That sounds pretty reasonable, right? Well, yeah, except that the free newspapers appeared to have been delivered only to homes that already subscribe to the Journal Star!

When I saw the free and subscription newspapers sitting side-by-side on our front porch, I assumed they had delivered the free copy to everybody. But while walking Daisy it became evident that only certain houses received the free copy. That’s when I noticed something strange: along our whole walking route I never saw a free copy of the paper sitting alone. it was always sitting next to a regular subscription copy of the paper. (They were easy to tell apart since they were packaged in different bags.) Not every house that had a subscription paper also had a freebie, but every house with a freebie also had a subscription.

I suppose it is possible that 1) I just didn’t notice some of the houses that only received the free copy; and/or 2) the folks who received just the free copy had already taken it inside. But both explanations seem improbably. The first is improbable because I made a conscious effort to look at each house’s front porch along our walking route. The second is improbably because I walk between 6:00 and 6:30. A few people in my neighborhood are up and active at that time, but not many. After over a year of walking the same route every morning, I know pretty well which folks are active and which are not at that time. Most of the houses along the route are very quiet at that time.

Anyway, I figure this is just the result of a lazy paper carr

ier delivering the free copies. He can do nearly the same amount of work delivering the extras to houses that already subscribe, rather than doubling (or more) his work delivering extras. In any event, I’m just thankful for the extra copy; it means that I get to have a copy of the paper on the bus, while The Missus gets to keep a copy at home to read over breakfast and lunch.

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