Old Navy Newspaper Insert - NOT For Dummies

Someone had to do it.

Remember when Walmart started using Walmart employees - instead of professional models - in their circulars? Of course, lots of companies use their "own people" instead of hiring talent for ads. (Who can forget the famous DRTV ad,  "I'm not only The Hair Club President; I'm also a client"?)

But Old Navy is taking things to the next level and using dummies (or supermodelquins, as they call them) in this week's circular. Behold ... 

I haven't stepped into an Old Navy store lately (and not sure that this circular will compel me to do so - although 2-for-$5 flipflops in an array of wild colors are a bargain, they're bad for my arches). But I wonder if Old Navy actually has such lively looking mannequins in their storefronts? 

While the circular features dummies, the concept is super smart - with headlines similar to what you might find in People, OK! or any gossip magazine. (For example, "They do what we do; these storefront celebs aren't so different after all," and "Even supermodelquins display less-than-perfect poses.") The circular dishes with the latest on Eva, Kimmy, Wesley, Amy, Michelle and there's even a dog named Parker. Looks like they're carrying over the concept online, too.

With the aforementioned 2-for-$5 flipflops, $19 "women's perfect khakis"  and $5 women's tank tops, this interesting take on circular advertising is likely to draw crowds in for the store's FUNdamentals sale, which starts today. One can only hope, given the state of the national economy.

The cover for this Old Navy circular says it is the Premier Issue. And I'm actually looking forward to seeing next week's installment, if only to find out what happens to supermodelquins Eva and Kelly. At least I won't have to read all about it while standing on line at the supermarket ... 


DMers: A Few Questions for 2009 - and a couple of newsworthy tidbits

Not on the blog roll yet, but should they be? Check out these top ten blogs in 2009, according to Direct Marketing Observations' Marc Meyer. (I just added one to my blog roll.)

Is this BizReport DM forecast coming true - or too early to tell?

What key steps should big companies be taking to be more effective with their marketing in a recession? See what The Direct Marketing Voice has to say on the subject.

-- Tell 'em The Copy Grove sent you. --

And in today's news:

Amex is paying cardholders to close their accounts. Only a limited number of cardholders will get the offer - pay off your account and close it, get $300. Not bad! Discover, here they come! Discover has a better rewards program, anyway, in my opinion - but hey, in this economy, wonder how long those rewards are going to last?

And how about Tropicana scraping their new OJ carton design (launched last month) because of public outcry? Who needs focus groups when you can have a true test in the marketplace? What Tropicana is doing right: Listening to its market and reacting. Better to get rid of the unpopular cartons NOW, before the company loses market share. 


Are you blaming your tools?

I met cartoonist Mick Stevens way back in 1997 in Philadelphia at a book signing. The book was "e-mail.this.book!" - wherein "Today's most talented cartoonists celebrate the fun and foibles, the delights and dangers, the quirks and quarks, of life in Computerland," complied by The Cartoon Bank and published by Alfred A. Knopf,  Inc.

In the almost 12 years that have past, computers, software and the Internet have changed dramatically to help make it easier for us to enjoy a somewhat hassle-free experience as we create documents, e-mail away, blog and generally twitter about our daily business and personal life.

But I love this signed cartoon by Mick Stevens, which depicts a writer who is seated at a desk, presenting his work to his editor or publisher and attempting to blame the glitches in the manuscript on his computer software. 

A good craftsman never blames his tools.

And funnily, there is a tie in this to Lincoln's Birthday. And I quote: "The most inspiring characters in history have been those who met their destinies without complaint, whose moral polarity enabled them to see opportunity where others saw only obstruction. The life of Abraham Lincoln is an example of the higher attitude toward events. Lincoln never quarrelled with conditions, though by all worldly standards there was ample occasion for it. He did not complain that good books were difficult to obtain, nor that light from oil lamps made reading impossible. If necessary, Lincoln read by light from the fireplace, whenever he had a book to read, and valued his schooling the more for its hardships. The Light that shone from his own illumined soul more than compensated for the darkness arising from events." This from Kernels of Wisdom, THEOSOPHY, Vol. 38, No. 11, September, 1950, which I just stumbled upon in a quick little Google search.

Isn't the Internet wonderful? How it can not only help tie people together but also ideas. Instead of blaming your tools, use them to the max. Find new ways they can help you achieve your goals. Explore their capabilities and learn about the tools in YOUR toolbox. There may be a few you haven't even touched. 


Fidelity Investor's Quarterly Magazine Cuts Back

These days, it seems every company is cutting back somehow - from service hours to packaging to staff. With that in mind, this month's Fidelity Investor's Quarterly issue is all about helping investors put their personal economy back in order and restoring financial confidence in the market, with headlines like "Don't let tough times derail your retirement," "Why the Democrats' Victory May Be a Win for Investors," and "Finding Shelter in Stormy Markets." 

As I was flipping through a copy of it, I noticed that the magazine's pages were thinner than previous issues. A sure sign of the times. Cutting back paper costs conserves marketing dollars. One thing you have to be wary of with thinner paper, though, is how much ink coverage you have on the pages and show-through issues, as well as page creasing that can occur during freight when the pieces are stacked in boxes and delivered from printer to post office. Quite a few pages in the new Fidelity magazine had those creases. Oh, well. It's a small compromise for cost-effectiveness, I guess.

On the cover, I noticed a "Read us online" slug on the masthead. I wondered: how long had that been there? Was it on previous issues or is this something new? Onto the inside, the editor's letter elaborates ...
"Special note to readers:  This will be the last print edition of this magazine. Beginning in May, it will only be available online. To receive the magazine electronically, please visit Fidelity.com/email and provide your email address. We look forward to bringing you a robust and engaging online reading experience."
Don't you just love those buzz words "robust" and "engaging?" And of course, it will be an "experience" to read the online magazine. Anyway, smart move on Fidelity's part. Environmentally smart and money-smart. 

We've already seen the demise of Domino magazine last month. How many other publications will shut down? Going online is a paper savings to be sure, but there still are many costs associated with pulling together a "robust and engaging" online magazine - writers, designers, editors and more to pay. Still, it's nice to see that Fidelity isn't panning their Investor's Quarterly magazine altogether.


Got a lot of money? Don't know what to do with it?

Buy a town. Not just any town - Garryownen, MT, "one of the most historic sites in Custer Country and a 'must see' for those interested in ... the history of the American West," according to the Custer Battlefield Museum. It's actually for sale ...

As far as space ads go, this could be a little better with:
a) a more "robust" and "engaging" headline
b) body copy in upper and lower case, versus all caps which is hard to read.

The layout is OK, resembling a "Wanted" poster, which would no doubt appeal to history buffs and people with a love for the Old West. Anyway, imagine owning this town where The Battle of Little Bighorn began. It would be like owning Gettysburg, PA

Wonder how much it's going for???? Have a good weekend all.


Talk to Your Blog - Web Sites You Can Use

What if you just have to post something on your blog, Twitter feed, or to do list - but for some uncanny reason, you just can't get online? (Maybe you broke your typing or texting finger ... or your Internet connection is down.) You could call a friend - or your secretary - and get your post up via dictation. But not too many people are good at shorthand these days and well, it's just too old fashioned. OK. Is there another option? 
Sure there is - Jott! Sign up for a free account at their web site (do it now, before you break that typing finger or the Internet goes down), and Jott can turn your voice message into text and post it for you. From what I hear, Jott's speech-to-text application is surprising accurate and easy to use. Gives new meaning to the phrase "phoning it in." If you try it, tell me how you like it. Me? @TEDOTD (shorthand for "at the end of the day"), I'll stick to typing it in myself.


Fewer Mail Days Mean ... What For Direct Marketers?

If you're a direct marketer, by now you've probably already heard the news ... that the postal service may cut a day and deliver mail only five days a week, not six. (If not, you can read more about it on Washington Post.com.) Turns out by cutting a day back in mail delivery times, the government may be able to save a whopping $3.5 million a year. Good way to make up all that bailout money! (Interesting factoid from washingtonpost.com: In 1912, the post office switched from delivering mail seven days a week to six, after pressure from Christian groups to eliminate Sunday delivery.) I'm thinking this will mean more leeway with mail drop-dates and when we have to get stuff to the printer's - IF we can get Sunday and Monday off, it'll be like have a long holiday weekend between the rush to release art files. You?

Thanks for stopping by