Thursday, March 26, 2009

Would YOU lick a newspaper?

Taste-It Note to save the newspaper biz?

Imagine opening a Sunday newspaper and amongst the coupons is an advertisement for a new sports drink imploring you to lick it for a sample. Sound like an early April Fools' Day joke? Well, it isn't. In fact the marketing folks at newspaper ink giant U.S. Ink Corp. think it is one of the few things that can save the newspaper industry from oblivion.

U.S. Ink, a unit of Sun Chemical Corp., calls its new product Taste-It Note, and for the last two weeks the Carlstadt, N.J., company has been trying to convince newspapers to adopt the peel-and-taste strips to help lick a predicted 22% drop in 2009 advertising revenue, according to New Jersey newspaper The Record.

U.S. Ink marketing manager Todd Wheeler told The Record the Taste-It Notes could give newspaper advertising an advantage that digital communications can't match -- not to mention a "yuck" factor.

However, U.S. Ink must have been aware of the fear of germs because the taste strips, which are manufactured by Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based First Flavor, are packaged in a pouch for freshness. The company states 1.5 million people have tasted the Taste-It Note, and 59% were more likely to purchase the product after tasting it. Companies using First Flavor's strips include Campbell's Soup Co. (NYSE:CPB), Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO), and Welch Food Inc.

While clearly it could help keep some advertisers on board, it probably won't sell more newspapers. After all, who is going to buy newspapers just to taste an ad anyway? - Gerald Magpily

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