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From the Direct Marketing Association's annual conference.

Food for thought: Over shrimp creole at Brennan's, Christoph von Gleichen, an executive at Frankfurt-based data services bureau Teleforce, said auto marketers should start targeting Germany's business-to-business audience. He said sticker prices on an average car start at $30,000, and noted industry research shows close to 40% of all cars there are sold to businesses. Yet less than 2% of German auto advertising targets businesses.

Bauer's khaki slackers: The idea behind Eddie Bauer Inc.'s TV spots from Black Rocket, Seattle, was baby boomer burnout. "Baby boomers are dead tired," said Bill Michel, VP-direct marketing at Eddie Bauer. The spots suggest the weary seek balance by wearing the brand. "We've been referring to it as a middle-age slacker movement," Mr. Michel said. Sales, though, aren't slacking: they're up from $60 million in '79 to $1.5 billion in '95.

A coupon proposition: Inter-Act Systems, which licenses a free kiosk-based real-time coupon system to grocery chains including Grand Union and A&P, plans to provide marketers with custom screens that let them offer rebates or extend event marketing and sweepstakes through in-store offers. Marketers pay to make offers on the system based on customer response, and can even target individuals (all of whom access the system with a store card).

Catalog Coach-ing: Mallory Weil, director-direct marketing at Coach Leatherware, said her catalog has been transformed from a major sales generator to an ad tool for Coach's retail stores. Ms. Weil said Coach spends "more money on our catalog than on all other forms of advertising combined." For example, "we decided to put almost all of our advertising funds into catalog" for the fall 1996 launch of a men's product line. The Sara Lee Corp. unit had made $500 million in sales in 1996 and is aiming to hit the $1 billion mark by 2000.

Wunder-ful catalog techniques: Agency executives like Barbara Jack, president of Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York, said the catalog-as-promotion idea used by Coach and others is a good one. She also cited Ikea USA. "These customers are smarter when they enter the store" for having read the catalog, she said. Along with Allan Winneker, the agency's president-North America based in Chicago, Ms. Jack ran a seminar on how promotion activities and direct marketing can be coordinated.

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