Denny's Zinger: The M.O.T. Measurement of Economy
Back in the last century, the way to sell kitsch—useless stuff bought on impulse—was to place a mail order ad in TV Guide. It was a cathedral of junk, stuffed full of opportunities to acquire:
- Commemorative plates.
- Darling little china elves and fairies.
- Xmas ornaments.
- Demitasse spoons commemorating the presidents or the 50 states.
- Cuddly bunny slippers.
- $10 flannel shirts.
As newspapers began printing TV schedules, TV Guide became redundant.
The current media for Mail Order Tchotchkes (M.O.T.) are the Sunday newspaper supplements:
- Parade (32MM circ. in 700 newspapers; 4-color page $1,087,400.)
- USA Weekend (48MM circ. in 700 newspapers; 4-color page $560,700.)
The Savviest Marketers
Purveyors of kitsch and tchotchkes are test wizards. They run an ad in a local edition of Parade or USA Weekend and can project the results of a national rollout down to a gnat's eyebrow.
Politicians and economists always guess on the economy. Tchotchke marketers know.
When the economy is bad—as during the subprime mortgage collapse and high unemployment—consumers are scared. Parade shrunk down to 12 pages.
On Sunday, October 19, Parade and USA Weekend—harbingers of consumer confidence—were flush with M.O.T. ads.
My favorite: Thomas Kinkade's splendid Christmas Tree—a full page ad that ran in both publications.
See the week's M.O.T. in the media player at upper right.
Takeaways to Consider
- You can measure the state of the economy by the number of mail order ads in Parade and USA Today.
- Let the good times roll!
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