Barney

By Hallie Mummert After more than 40 years of perfecting the direct mail sweepstakes, Reader's Digest has closed its prize money vault. In 1998 newly appointed Reader's Digest Association CEO Tom Ryder saw the writing on the wall for the publishing giant, and announced a plan to revitalize the brand—starting with product improvements and a gradual weaning of sweepstakes promotions. Not surprisingly, this plan came at a time when Congress was pushing for sweepstakes reform, and the state attorneys general were punishing direct marketers they felt were the poster children of sweepstakes. Only a few years after strict legislation regulating sweepstakes promotions was passed

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