The Time Inc. title will distribute 500,000 sample packs containing a minimagazine and sponsors' products and coupons to kids in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
The program is the realization of the magazine's long-held goal to market the magazine in schools. SI for Kids executives said the program will become an annual effort and may possibly be done more frequently.
The magazine acknowledges the subject of advertising in schools is controversial.
"The commercialization factor is soft and subtle," said Gail Day, SI for Kids' national sales manager. "We've done educational initiatives before and teachers welcome it. . . . It's 'stealth learning.' Kids think they're being entertained but at the same time, [they're] being taught."
Ms. Day said she has already sold six sponsorships, priced at $80,000, but wouldn't name the marketers.
According to Ms. Day, the $80,000 price tag includes a page in the September issue of SI for Kids, which has a reach of 9.2 million parents, teens and 10-to-12-year-old "tweens"; a page in the August/
September issue of Time Inc.'s Sports Parents, with a reach of 1.5 million adults; a page in the sample pack's minimagazine; and one insert, which could be a coupon or product.
The 1997 back-to-school season is a pivotal one for the magazine. August will see the SI for Kids brand extend into TV. CBS will air 20 original episodes