February 25, 2002

Walk into a supermarket and often the first thing you see is a display rack full of point of purchase advertising.

A major player in the space is BrandAid Marketing Corp. whose Supercards Network runs in 650 stores in major cities and plans to be in 1080 by year-end.

Success with a recent campaign by AOL, which distributed program disks in store, has led BrandAid to launch a direct marketing division, which will offer the Supercards program as an alternative to traditional direct marketing.

"The response rates are high, so we should take advantage of it and go after the direct response business," says BrandAid CEO Jay Elliott. He says the company will pursue traditional direct marketers like Franklin Mint and magazine publishers. In the past, Supercards have been used by supermarket products manufacturers, including food, health and beauty products. "Now we'll go after companies that don't sell in store, but require consumers to respond to some kind of an offer when they leave the store."

In this way, Supercards would be like direct mail, which requires a subsequent response, unlike an immediate in store offer, which Supercards traditionally offered.

The difference between direct mail and Supercards is the difference between push and pull. "Direct mail is a push vehicle, but we pull people," Elliott says. "People voluntarily go to the display and interact with it. If they take a CD from AOL they have a good inclination to use it. So there's a higher conversion rate than direct mail where everyone gets it."

Supercards campaigns run on a monthly basis. Clients provide art and BrandAid produces the POP piece and distributes it to stores. Clients choose where they want the pieces to run. Stores in Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York are in the network now, with plans to expand.

Mitch Pomerance, who was brought in to head the new project as director of direct response sales and marketing, says it will be his job to "make sure they're aware of this new opportunity and understand the benefits." He says BrandAid will conduct its own direct response campaign to promote Supercards. "We'll mail brochures and call select companies," he says.

By Ken Liebeskind
Courtesy of http://www.MediaPost.com

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