You can actually start snoring if you add extra weight; getting rid of the extra weight could stop the snoring. A number of women, meanwhile, start snoring in the last stages of pregnancy. There are a number of stop snoring products on the market that can be used to stop the problem, and mouthpieces are a key one. Another cause of snoring is being very tired before retiring to bed; for that reason it is important to unwind with some Yoga or Pilates. Also, avoid taking sleeping pills before going to bed as they can contribute to snoring.
Muscles relax as one ages; this can contribute to some cases of sleep apnea. Toning up your neck muscles can eliminate this big bedroom issue. A snoring pillow, as an example, supports neck muscles for a good night rest. Additionally, there are a number of throat sprays that can stop snoring when used before bed.
If you have the money, have a sleep study done to establish the cause of your snoring. Heavy consumption of alcohol before bed can also be a key cause. Colds, flu and other allergies could also be the causes. Therefore, get treatment for these conditions for a snore-free night.
I Am Worried That Snoring Might Affect My Relationship
A light sleeper will get very angry with a snoring roommate. A snoring teen may not be invited for sleepover. A married couple may chose separate bedrooms if their partner snores the night away. This may result in lack of necessary intimacy in a marriage; therefore, it is imperative to get real help as soon as possible. Truthfully, it can be fun to try out different products until you get one that works for you.
A relationship may become strained if one of the involved parties lacks focus on important issues in the relationship. This can also occur if they are not getting sufficient sleep due to snoring. Snoring can contribute to high blood pressure which can drain family resources through medical expenses. Make an appointment to see a professional if you wake up regularly gasping for breath. It is possible to start snoring as you get older; therefore, getting help should be the first priority. Furthermore, your partner can also start snoring; gift them a stop snoring product to improve your relationship as you enjoy your sunset years together.
My Roommate Snores – Should I Move Out?
Living in hostile conditions can affect your health over time. Moving out may not be the solution as you could still be forced to share a room with someone else who may also snore. It is important to talk to your roommate to let them know that they keep you up due to their snoring. There are several stop snoring products in the market that your roommate can use for a snore free room.
You can help your roommate stop snoring by exercising together to eliminate the extra weight that could be the cause of snoring. Throat muscles need to be toned to prevent vibration when they relax in sleep. Throat sprays and snoring pills are available in a number of drugstores to stop snoring. Embracing a healthy lifestyle in your living quotas could help your roommate stop snoring. A number of people snore when they have allergic reactions; make sure that your room is well ventilated.
It is imperative to approach your roommate with kindness so that they do not feel offended when you inform them they snore. They could refuse to use the products you recommend, leaving you at a major disadvantage – no sleep!
No, you are not too young to use an anti aging cream; skin can age prematurely due to the elements. A number of anti aging creams have gentle ingredients that boost and maintain skin health. Young adults may develop large laughter lines that can be eliminated by regular application of an anti aging cream that hydrates the skin. Most people who have given anti aging cream reviews online are young adults who were happy with the results. They also exercise and eat healthy foods to nourish their skin.
It is important to remove makeup before going to bed; furthermore apply your anti aging cream on your face and neck for great outcome. It will lessen the appearance of craw feet in a few weeks. If you apply the anti aging cream as advised, you could eradicate wrinkling on your skin in a short time. Do not forget to drink lots of water for vibrant skin. Anti aging creams replenish collagen to firm up skin eradicating deep wrinkles eventually. You can obtain the advice of a dermatologist as to the best anti aging cream to use depending on your skin type; some brands offer money back guarantee when you buy their awesome anti aging products – more information is here.
Benefits Of Using Anti Aging Cream
A number of anti aging creams hydrate the skin and promote collagen production for firm youthful skin. They prevent the development of wrinkles in the skin and get rid of wrinkles present over time. They can be used by both the young and old to protect their skin and repair damage caused by the elements. A number of satisfied customers have given anti aging cream reviews online to help others looking for a solution to great skin. Soft smooth skin is possible with regular application of an appropriate anti aging cream.
Applying an appropriate anti aging cream will lessen the appearance of deep wrinkles and large pores on your skin. Consistency is very important for the desired results; furthermore, essential oils can be used with an anti aging cream to tighten sagging skin. It is important to exfoliate your skin often to get rid of dead cells to make way for the new beautiful skin. A good anti aging cream enhances and maintains healthy skin; therefore apply before retiring to bed so that it works on your skin as you dream the night away. You will look younger than your age if you start using a good anti aging cream sooner than later.
It’s a new and interesting time for law makers who are looking at how to regulate the application of information technology. Since online gambling has become one of the more lucrative applications of e-commerce, and the gambling industry has traditionally been highly regulated, it is one of the first Internet-related issues to be tackled by legislators.
Before we look at the legalities in Australia, let’s take a quick look at the US online gambling situation at the moment. If you follow US technology news you would have heard of the Kyl bill, a proposal driven by Arizona senator Jon Kyl to ban Internet gambling, for US citizens at least. In July the US Senate voted 90-10 to ban Internet gambling in America. The bill has not progressed any further, though; it missed out on approval in the last US legislative session for 1998 due to delays. Kyl, who has said Internet gambling is breeding crime, has vowed to fight on for the bill next year.
Aside from the Kyl bill, online gambling in the US is complicated by differing state laws regarding gambling. A case last year saw the state of Minnesota (where gambling is illegal) suing a businessman in Nevada (where gambling is legal) who intended to set up an online betting site. The Web site had advertised its new service would be a “`legal way’ to bet on sports from anywhere in the country”, C-NET reported. A lawsuit was duly filed by Minnesota’s attorney general who was aiming to prove the state’s jurisdiction reigns over all gambling within Minnesota — even that conducted in cyberspace by Minnesota residents.
A similar situation may indeed evolve in Australia. The states and territories, which have jurisdiction over gaming, are moving right now on legislating for (and against) what has been dubbed “interactive gambling”. The Draft Regulatory Control Model for New Forms of Interactive Gambling, a report commissioned by the ministers of gaming across Australia, was published last year, and since then each state and territory has decided how it will deal with interactive gambling.
STATE BY STATE
In New South Wales it is illegal for NSW residents to participate in or operate Internet gambling, under The Gaming and Betting Act 1912. And although the Act pre-dates the electronic age, it does give NSW police the authority to prosecute individuals and confiscate the tools used in the illegal activity — that is, the PC. And if you think there’s any hope a new law will be devised to legalise interactive gambling, you’re probably wrong. The NSW Minister for gaming and racing, Jack Face, has recently announced that the NSW Government will not move down the same path that other states and territories have, or are intending to take, in legalising and regulating Internet gambling.
Western Australia too is grappling with the idea of extending existing gambling opportunities into the home (note WA is now the only state that does not permit electronic gaming machines in hotels and pubs). It is understood that the West Australian Government has so far decided not to license Internet gambling operators. It is also understood that currently there is no specific law that prohibits West Australian residents a from using such sites.
The rest of Australia’s states and territories meanwhile, have passed laws or are drafting laws right now, which legalise interactive gambling.
The Queensland Government has decided to adopt the regulatory model as suggested in the report mentioned above. The Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act, which was enacted on October 1, established a regulatory framework to license online gaming operators. To become licensed, operators must pass a series of checks on their background and computer equipment, for example, and pay substantial fees and taxes.
The first piece of legislation passed by the Queensland Government to regulate activity on the Internet specifically, the Act is there to protect players (Queenslanders) from shonky online gaming operators. And it applies to any online gaming operator that is providing services to Queensland residents, so if an online gaming organisation wants to do business with Queenslanders it must be licensed by the Queensland Government. If it isn’t and is caught, penalties will apply: up to two years imprisonment and/or 200 penalty units, currently valued at $60 per unit.
Andrew McMicking, policy adviser with the Queensland Treasury concedes it will be difficult to police thoroughly.
“I’m sure there will be games going on that we’re not aware of,” he said, “but from this legislation we’re offering users security knowing that providers are licensed and have gone through a vigorous checking process.” And it will only take a few complaints about dodgy organisations to bring unlicensed online gaming operators unstuck, he added.
Under the framework, taxes — 50 per cent of gross profits derived from Queensland residents — will be payable every month.
“That rate has been the result of negotiations and talks with other states and territories. It’s very important that all states have a similar regime, so you don’t have everyone going to one state for their business,” said McMicking. The Act also provides for recognition of interactive gaming licences awarded by other states and countries that the Queensland Government has entered into an agreement with — none currently stand.
The ACT and Northern Territory governments have already passed laws facilitating interactive gaming, and the Victorian and South Australian Governments are in the process of drafting legislation to do the same.
So, you live in South Australia and are wondering if you can gamble online right now? According to Daryl Hassam, manager of gaming administration in the South Australian Office of Liquor and Gaming, it depends where the transaction takes place.
“I’m not aware that it’s an offence for someone to have a bet in Antigua, whether they’re over there personally or whether they do it via electronic means … and I probably would know if it were,” Hassam said.
“There’s no legislation at present that I’m aware of that prevents a person from entering into a transaction in Grand Turk Island or the Bahamas or wherever,” he added.
In Tasmania, meanwhile, it is legal for casinos already operating under the Gaming Control Act 1993 to provide online gambling services. Tasmanian residents are excluded from using those services, but strangely it is not illegal for them to gamble on sites operated outside of Tasmania.
Clients include companies that produce cards for large numbers of salespeople, actors and models wanting their attributes and credits singularly circulated. “One job,” says Bouton, “was for the Midwest Breeders Assn. It featured stud bulls along with their |stats.
He adds that physicians, dentists and other professionals use the card device to “disseminate credentials without appearing to be ostentatious. Baseball cards are an unpretentious, yet effective, means of getting people to know more about each other; a real communications icebreaker.”
Not all cards serve the same purpose. Recently, a government watchdog group in Pennsylvania produced and distributed pictures and voting scores of each member of the state legislature. Many of the most ardent collectors were the elected officials themselves, trying to round up their own cards before they were circulated to the public.
Many small printers are asked to print trading cards,” says Frank Hudetz, president of Solar Press, one of the nation’s largest card-deck producers. “The problem is not in printing, but in the cutting, collating and packaging.
Naperville, IL-based Solar Press is not “inviting other printers to send their sheets for finishing. We believe that, with capabilities comparable to ours, several hundred printers, new to baseball cards, could become significant producers,” Hudetz says.
Printing buyers agree that suppliers are needed. One, Joanne Richter at Alpine Gifts in North Bend, WA, had difficulty finding a printer for trading cards her firm marketed depicting characters from the Twin Peaks TV series. “When the show went off the air, fans descended on our town (where the series is set) looking for memorabilia,” she comments.
Richter obtained still photos and a license to sell “movie cards.” Similar arrangements resulted in blockbuster cards for Star Wars, Star Trek and Batman, making films the second most popular subject matter (following sports) for trading cards.
By far the largest printer of both sports and film cards is Panel Prints of Old Forge, PA. The company’s biggest customer is, not surprisingly, Topps, Inc., the largest card publisher with quantity records of its own. You may recall Garbage Pail Kids, the all-time bestseller, or Desert Storm cards, the rage of 1991.
Frank Hubbard, president of Panel Prints, doesn’t let on how many cards his seven 77-inch presses churn out because Topps keeps that information a trade secret. “The last thing I want to discuss is baseball cards, but,” he adds, “the estimate of 81 billion cards is outlandish.”
Dallas lithographer Tom Daulton disagrees. “If every American eventually had a card made (assuming an average run of 1,000 cards), the total volume would be 270 billion cards a year!”
Daulton’s Performance Printing Co. is gearing up for a two-shift, two-press operation that, at 100-up per form, should produce 100 million cards a week. That would be less than two percent of the conceivable market, but still place the company among the “majors.”
So, how has the market for cards grown? Carl Altomare at North Wales Press (North Wales, PA) knows first-hand. “One of our press operators collected photographs and stats of team members of the Reading Phillies, a farm club. For fun, we printed a set of cards, and the rest is history.”
Prior to the press run at North Wales Press (NWP), no one had ever produced baseball cards featuring players outside of the major leagues, yet all players began in the minors, a minefield for collectors.
Today, NWP’s former press operator is a full-time card publisher, and his ex-employer is the printer for all minor league baseball plus some other projects. “We continue to do commercial printing,” says Mike Altomare, sales manager, “but the cards offset a lot of the overhead!”
The reason is margin. One card yields about $25 per 1,000 in the retail and promotional markets; and that’s just for the printer. At the retail level, a box of 350 “Platinum” series cards from Pro-Set, a challenger to Topps, goes for $90; a 10-time markup thanks to clever marketing of clear-coating on both sides.
Such challengers have led the Brooklyn, NY-based Topps to a momentous decision: get rid of the gum! “The consumer value of the cards grew radically compared to the value of the gum,” says Timm Boyle at Topps. The gum was “adding negligible value” because it was scuffing the finish on the cards.
What’s more, another newcomer, Upper Deck Cards of Yorba Linda, CA, retails a $0.125 card that’s hologram-embossed for authenticity. And LBC Sports of Villa Park, IL is laminating a blind-embossed foil-stamped wrapper onto grey board. The enhancement potentials for the “ultimate collector’s card” are unending, and advertisers are onto the craze.
The Seven-Eleven Stores tied their “Slurpee” drinks to monster cards, and fast-food giants Domino’s Pizza and Denny’s have sponsored card sets including vanity cards as rewards for outstanding employees. Monthly magazines and quarterly catalogs for card collectors are on every newsstand, many with cross-sell advertising. In every city, there are auctions every weekend for vintage editions of uncirculated sets, and countless classified ads run in newspapers and magazines seeking specific cards.
Big League Cards now is adding pages to cards for more information and impact. At the Wessell Co., a short-cutoff full-web press has been modified to score, z-fold, glue and eight-slit in-line-finished eight-page booklets. The 10-out product is being distributed by Collect-a-Books.
Will there be 16-page baseball cards, or 32s and beyond? Before reprogramming our quotation system, let’s examine the emerging markets.
Real estate salespeople, already into cards, may show “sets” of properties and bind the same. Textbook publishers, seeking more “consumables” besides workbooks, may shift science and social studies to “study-cards.”
Bouton, of Big League, suggests hospitals could produce family packs of newborn handout cards and bar-scene singles could bare all in facts and figures introductions.
Sky Box’ nonsports cards are rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, some 50% of its product line is now in the nonsports category–including a set of 85 Aladdin cards, which will be introduced in April. And the firm’s Star Trek and Marvel Series cards are currently hot-sellers.
While baseball remains No. 1 in sports trading cards, basketball has shown tremendous growth in recent years. “Basketball was the shining star of the industry in 1992, due in large part to the hoopla surrounding the Olympic Dream Team,” says an Action Packed spokeswoman. “Conversely, football took a hit last year, as NFL Properties’ lawsuit against the Professional Football Players Association resulted in many star players not being available.”
Action Packed focuses on football and auto racing cards, as well as Hall of Fame baseball and basketball series. Its latest basketball series, which features a 42-card set honoring past greats, includes a popular five-card subset: “Larry Bird, Hall of Fame Hopeful.” The small, high-end firm also donates braille sports cards to 400 schools.
Action Packed’s trading cards sell for as little as 35 cents for its regular wax packs to $2.90 for sets from its embossed premium collection.
Topps Co. is also getting more heavily involved in nonsports cards, especially movie-related lines. A company spokesman says that sales of these cards mirror the success of particular films. Although Topps’ Rockateer card line was a “disappointment,” he explains, its Home Alone and Home Alone II lines sold out rapidly. Topps hopes that the soon-to-be released Jurassic Park will be this spring’s blockbuster, as the firm is scheduled to release two Jurassic Park trading card lines in mid-April.
The manufacturer reported a loss for the fourth quarter of 1992, leading it to reduce the number of cards it will produce in 1993–not, however, the number of lines. Topps is now gearing its efforts more toward consumers who buy cards for enjoyment rather than investment.
“More and more collectors aren’t even opening their card sets,” notes the company spokesman. “They’re just putting them aside to check the value in 10 years. That’s fine, but for manufacturers and retailers it’s important to bear in mind that the key to sustained success is to emphasize the enjoyment, the sheer fun of card collection.”
Baseball is still Topps best-selling line, and on March 1 the firm came out with its Baseball Series II. It also recently released its Topps Kids for New Collectors line, which sells for 35 cents a pack.
After 1992′s slowdown, Fleer decided to gear its production strictly to consumer demand. Its Ultra Series II Hockey has just been released, and its Ultra Series I Baseball and Ultra Series II Basketball will both be out by the end of March.
Fleer uses TV, radio and print ads to support its lines, which are represented by star athletes in each sport. The spokesmen include Larry Johnson (Charlotte Hornets) and Scotty Pippin (Chicago Bulls) in basketball, Tom Glavine (Atlanta Braves) and Dennis Eckersly (Oakland A’s) in baseball, and Jeremy Roenick (Chicago Black Hawks) in hockey.
The athletes used in Fleer’s print ads also make personal appearances. A “career highlight” subset of 10 to 12 cards, some autographed, are randomly inserted in card packs. Fleer’s Ultra line has been upgraded with ultraviolet coating and gold and silver foil stamping.
ProSet went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 1992, due to overproduction and excessive returns. “We were behind in royalty payments to licensers and have worked to correct that,” says marketing director Eric Herskind. “By limiting the number of products we offer and focusing on hockey, football and auto racing, we are marketing through print advertising in hobby specific publications.”
Megacards of Iowa has produced its unique Conlon Collection for the third straight year. Charles Conlon was a baseball photographer from 1905 through 1942, and Megacards obtained 8,000 of his negatives and is using them for trading cards. Three hundred-and-thirty Conlon cards are issued each year.
According to a company spokeswoman, the 1993 Conlon Collection will feature Texas Rangers star pitcher Nolan Ryan matched up with eight legendary hurlers.
The most unique card in the Ryan subset (No. 934) shows him “shaking hands” with Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson. Although Johnson died two months before Ryan was born, an original photograph from the Conlon collection of Johnson shaking hands with Lou Gehrig was used as the basis for the card. Through computer technology, the card now depicts the two great fastballers shaking hands.
A gold-bordered premium version of the photograph will be distributed at Jack Eckerd Corp. stores. Halley says that incorporating modern players into the Conlon set connects young collectors with the history of the game.
Thrifty Corp. senior vice president of marketing and merchandising Gary Rocheleau says that some of the chain’s stores, particularly in high-crime areas, have had trouble with theft of trading cards. “These cards are glitzy, small and easy to swipe,” he says.
To combat that problem, Thrifty now merchandises the cards in the candy section in the front of its stores, which means higher visibility–to customers and personnel.
An Arbor Drugs spokesman agrees that the trading card market cooled off in 1992. “A few years ago people were literally waiting at the door for shipments to arrive,” he says. “Although the category is not nearly as demand-driven now, it has stabilized and is holding its own.”
All product movement at Arbor is tracked by a point-of-sale scanning system. If a certain series of trading cards is selling very well, it pops up immediately in the central computer system. “We can immediately see which cards are doing well and replenish them,” says the spokesman.
According to a CVS spokesman, River Group’s Elvis trading cards are doing particularly well at that drug chain. The cards are highlighted in CVS circulars, which customers pick up as they enter the stores, and are merchandised with others at the checkstands.
Charles Mandel, the president of Sports Design, which manufactures such trading card accessories as sheets, binders and card collector kits, concurs.
“For the past 10 years we had a beautiful growth curve,” he says. “The cards themselves were becoming works of art–the quality of the pictures, the ink, card stocks, everything. But with licensing agents allowing so many sets, there became a danger of so much product that for a time no one knew what was worthy of collecting.
Category management can provide a new view of the trading card category. “In the pre-category management world, most grocery accounts probably just dabbled in our category,” says Brochhausen. “They put some cards in the candy racks or locked them up at the courtesy desk. When you do that, it’s difficult to sell cards. You turn a box every two to three months, if that. Our category responds to high-traffic locations. Everybody makes the same claim, but this category really does. It’s a high-margin, high-dollar profit ring category [see chart]. The average pack of cards can turn anywhere from $1 to $2 in profit ring.”
The challenge, he says, is in the merchandising of the product and keeping up with the number of brands. “Inventory management has really become the biggest challenge for most of the retailers,” Brochhausen says.
To address these inventory management/category management issues, Pinnacle turned to a consultant, Meridian Corp., Westport, Conn., about three years ago. “They were very focused on the various space management systems that are out there,” Brochhausen says. “But we found a couple of problems with traditional space/category management. Because these items change every four to six months, and the box sizes and price points are different, it became almost impossible to use a system like Apollo.”
Related issues, such as quick response and just-in-time replenishment, don’t really apply to the trading card section because the products are considered collectibles. “What you [as a retailer] want to do is sell out [a current offering] and move along to the next brand,” he says. “If all you do is continuously replenish [current] hot brands, you’ll invariably guess wrong, and you’ll have inventory problems.”
The reason retailers err so often is because they are used to replenishing like items. Collectors, however, aren’t seeking to replenish the same cards; they’re looking for different cards. “In most consumer packaged goods categories we say, `Stack it high and watch it fly.’ In this industry we say, `Stack it high and watch it die,”‘ says Brochhausen. Collectors, he says, buy on perception. “While supermarket buyers are buying cases, they should be buying boxes. Collectors want to see new stuff continuously replenished. If they think a display has been there too long, they’ll move on to the hobby shops or mass merchandisers, who do very good jobs managing their inventories.”
At the same time, Brochhausen recognizes that retailers are concerned with issues like return on inventory, inventory investment and theft, all of which necessitate some form of category management. “We lay out all of the brands that are upcoming in a specific sport 90 days out and recommend which brands should be promoted and which shouldn’t be promoted, both ours and our competitors’,” he says. “I think everybody should promote the total category. If you don’t, you’re not helping the category. The bottom line is that we need retailers to establish the category and get collectors to the section.”
If ensuring variety is the key to successful category management in the supermarket channel, it’s the bane of mass merchandisers. “Mass merchandisers like to be way out there,” Brochhausen says. “But for us to realistically predict what will happen past 90 days out is almost impossible. So they [mass merchandisers] plan so many inventory dollars against the total category, and as the choices become available, they make their selections. Because we’re based in sports and in collectibility, you don’t plan the same way, say, a Nestle would.”
That doesn’t mean all traditional category management tools have to be scrapped. “We use Nielsen to determine when the best time is to promote, that is, which are the key consumption months to promote certain sports,” Brochhausen says. “Most people would be surprised to find the best month to promote hockey cards is January. In fact, 55% of all hockey cards are sold between January and May.”
How does Pinnacle’s category management program work? “If you’re a grocery chain, you’re probably not [heavily involved in the trading card] business today,” says Brochhausen. “So the first thing we’re going to do is get you in the business. Next, we’ll talk to you about the proper square footage and the potential profit per square foot. There’s usually a five- or 10-store test. I don’t think there’s been a test that’s failed yet. If retailers put in somewhere around a 30-SKU card program, they should be looking at generating a $5,000 per store profit per month per location.”
The next question, says Brochhausen, is how do you service this category? Many chains use a magazine distributor. “That way they have very small exposure in terms of inventory dollars, and it also gives them a lot more flexibility as to taking products out, so it really becomes a turnkey opportunity for them,” he says.
Brochhausen says effective, involved category management can also deliver benefits across the entire store. Citing a recent Pinnacle hockey theme promotion at Stop & Shop, Quincy, Mass., he says, “If Stop & Shop wanted to get involved directly with the National Hockey League to promote the NHL All Star Game, it would be expensive–in fact, you’re probably looking at a six-figure licensing agreement. By working with us on NHL FanTasy and promoting the fact that customers would win tickets to the Stanley Cup or NHL All Star Game, you create a whole interactive big event, especially in a big hockey town like Boston.”
Asked how Pinnacle’s approach to category management varies by channel, Brochhausen says, “Convenience stores can’t carry as many SKUs as a supermarket can for obvious reasons. So there’s a lower number of products per SKU. The way they promote is also different. C-stores like to cross-promote with different categories.”
A two-step conversion – that is, using the medium to get an inquiry, not to try for an immediate sale – is usually the best use for a card. That point illustrates both strength and weakness. The strength lies in The First Rule of Card Decks:
Make response a no-brainer.
If you object to this Rule, consider: The individual flipping through the deck probably has just looked at another card and is about to look at another card. A challenge is out of order. (Replace the urge to challenge with adherence to The Second Rule, coming up.)
Typical skimming time, depending on which expert you’re quoting, is one to three seconds. If you want to stop a skimmer cold, cleave to The Second Rule of Card Decks:
Make a powerful promise.
The Second Rule eliminates such weak cues as “Mail this card for additional information.” Oh, certainly, “additional information” is the classic two-step conversion; but today’s impatient, short-attention-span marketplace demands tying “information” to a more aggressive partner – a discount or a free mouse-pad or a “Confidential Report.” At the very least, use terminology such as “Private Offer” or “$25 Value” to add power, however artificial, to the proposition.
The Third Rule? It’s a venerable one we should apply to every message we print or broadcast or send over the Web or put on the sides of buses or on matchbook covers or skywrite: The Clarity Commandment:
When you choose words and phrases for force-communication, clarity is paramount. Don’t let any other component of the communications mix interfere with it.
That Third Rule (or better, that Commandment) can save a marketer a lot of grief.
A one-step conversion involves additional rules:
1. No asterisks or footnotes.
2. No qualifiers, no “if” phrases relating to your willingness or ability to deliver.
3. A reward – whether monetary or psychological – for a fast reply.
4. Clear, non-obfuscatory rhetoric unadulterated by intentional cleverness or unintentional confusion … describing a clear, unequivocal offer unadulterated by conditions.
So a card combining a toll-free number with this text
qualifies under these rules as a one-step conversion:
2 Magnetic Door Signs 1 Color on White 30 mil Magnet 4 line max, 12[inches]x18[inches] signs $50.00
Complicated? No. “If”-phrases? No. Clever? No. Clear and straightforward? Yes. It qualifies.
Turn A Fun Hobby Into A Profitable Business
The card, reasonably copy-heavy, then spells out the exact deal. If this were a two-step conversion these specifics would help eliminate waste-names. It’s a one-step conversion, and that means specifics are mandatory.
Effective or ineffective? It depends on which deck the card is in.
To a list of business opportunity seekers, right on. To a list of sophisticated individuals whose homes cost $250,000 or more, probably not. (Yes, I know lists are full of surprises and that’s why we test lists in the first place; but in low-response media such as cards, we have to go with percentages.)
Just one problem here: Because it’s a one-step conversion, the card asks for a credit card number … which many will not want to expose on a mailed card.
What About “Image” Advertising?
I’ll risk the wrath of card producers by offering a firm opinion – and understand, please, it’s an opinion although to me it’s a fact – that card decks are the wrong medium for image advertising.
First of all, image advertising is necessarily rhapsodic, semi-poetic, not a fast “better grab right now or miss out” pitch. It’s out of key with the whole concept of card decks.
Second, the deck skimmer doesn’t expect to encounter image advertising in this milieu. The mind-set isn’t tuned to receptivity.
Third, the self-limiting nature of a card is an automatic restriction on size and format. Rhapsody gives way to a predetermined, standard shape.
An analysis of card copy isn’t the forum to attack the concept of image advertising, but what genuine marketer could quarrel with having this as the purpose of any message: getting the phone, fax machine, or cash register to ring?
Don’t Do This:
I’m looking at a 3 1/2[inches] x 5 3/8[inches] card printed vertically. It asks me to fax my reply on the card.
My fax machine is a new one, and I’m not going to risk having an undersized card hang up inside its guts. Anyway, the number isn’t toll-free, a competitive mistake when competing in a deck; and “Fax today for information” is a grievous violation of the Second Rule of Card Decks. Don’t do this.
I’m looking at another card with this heading:
No Business Plan? Call Us.
Here’s a “Huh?” message. “Business Plan” covers acres of possibilities. “Error!” flashes all over the Clarity Commandment. Don’t do this.