Domestications President Michael Ippolito hopes to debut the ad insert in the April/May summer edition of the Hanover Direct-owned catalog. He originally envisioned it as a four- to eight-page insert for e-commerce companies that don't compete with the catalog, but Mr. Ippolito said financial institutions and major publications already have expressed interest in the ad section.
"It's just another [advertising] alternative that's more unique and can get at the people that will come back and purchase," he said.
IDEAL DEMO FOR DOT-COMS
Mr. Ippolito decided to target e-commerce companies after watching how much dot-coms spent on marketing during the holidays. He thought Domestications customers -- 98% of whom are married women and 70% of whom have Web access -- were exactly the consumers dot-coms would want to reach.
Full-, half- and quarter-page ads are available; a color page ad in 1 million catalogs costs $47,000.
Pierre Passavant, director of New York University's Center for Direct Marketing, said catalogs have included general ads in the past, but he noted it's not a common ad venue because few catalog marketers think like magazine publishers when trying to supplement revenue.
"I can see where it's a win-win situation," Mr. Passavant said. "The advertiser is reaching people in an environment where there isn't a whole clutter of ads, and as long as the advertising is economically justifiable and relevant to the demographic audience, it's good for the cataloger."
Although Domestications has no firm plans to make the ad insert a permanent feature, Mr. Ippolito said he's confident he has hit on a marketing idea that will be successful over time.
"We're going to have to see how this plays out," he said. "It's something we're going to have to be patient with. . . . we will see how it evolves."