Some direct marketers are running ads telling consumers they are still taking orders and that those orders will get through.
'DOING JUST FINE'
"We're doing just fine in getting orders out and to the customer," said Arthur Cinader Jr., operations manager for J. Crew Group. "The key is, will customers recognize that and be willing to give us their orders?"
Mr. Cinader said the catalog operation has experienced a 5% to 10% drop in call volume since the strike began. He said the catalog hadn't seen such a drastic drop since the start of the Persian Gulf War.
J. Crew's in-house produced, strike-related ads-reaffirming that the catalog is still operat-ing-broke in The New York Times Aug. 13; Mr. Cinader said J. Crew likely will use other publications if the strike continues.
A larger-scale preliminary attack is being waged by Lands' End, with ads having broken Aug. 8 in the Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and five smaller papers in regions near Lands' End outlets.
Lands' End also is running radio spots nationally and in 12 top spot markets. Biederman, Kelly & Shaffer, New York, handles creative; in-house Peer Group places.
L.L. Bean ran a similar campaign from Bronner Slosberg Humphrey, Boston. Ads touting the catalog's use of Federal Express Corp. appeared between Aug. 8 and Aug. 15 in USA Today, The New York Times, Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal. The company may run the ads again if necessary.
TURNING TO DMA FOR HELP
Some of the larger catalog operations and many smaller ones are turning to the Direct Marketing Association for help. DMA sent lists of alternate delivery services to catalog marketers that asked.
"Then we started hearing from members that they had delivery systems in place but that customers were reluctant," said Connie Heatley, DMA*senior VP.
Harrison, N.Y.-based Taylor, Dougherty, Rost & Partners, DMA's agency, created a short-term, $250,000 campaign that says the catalog industry "is still delivering the goods." The ads broke Aug. 15 in USA Today and in six markets, with the possibility that more markets would be added.
A DMA survey of more than 100 catalogs showed 81% were using the U.S. Postal Service for at least some of their orders and 37% had used UPS exclusively before the strike. But there has been some doubt about whether the postal service could keep up in the holiday season if the strike continues.
Ms. Heatley said inventory heading into the holiday season would be a problem for direct marketers since much inventory is delivered via UPS. But Mr. Cinader said he expected advertising from catalogers and the DMA to help stem any