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Two newspapers have sent a highly unusual let's-make-a-deal message to national media buyers and agencies.

The Miami Herald and and Spanish-language sister paper El Nuevo Hearld tell national buyers in a unique 10-page promotional mailing, including a sweepstakes offer for a Miami trip, that they will offer rate flexibility and value-added packages.

The Knight-Ridder newspapers in November jointly sent to 16,000 media buyers the brochure, titled "Changes," to persuade them to take a new look at them and the Miami/South Florida market. The mailing features scenes of trendy Miami today interspersed with dated vacation postcards of yesteryear.

One page, titled "Latitude," details how The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald will work with national advertisers on the best rates and the surest way to reach customers through events, sampling, targeting or mass marketing.

The papers offer a 20% line-rate reduction if a national advertiser identifies local retailers in the ad as part of a promotion; a package-goods rate 15% above retail rates but 50% below open national rates; and a 50% discount for remnant space, left open by last-minute ad cancellations.

They also offer something more unusual-volume discounts to agencies, similar to what they give advertisers.

Discounted rates are common, but "dollar volume discounts for agencies-that's a new concept," said Jack P. Cohen, VP-di rector of print/outdoor media buying, DDB Needham Worldwide, New York.

Since late November, The Miami Herald has received about 2,000 en tries to its sweepstakes. Also, it has received numerous calls for media kits and information on product sampling and event tie-ins, said Fred Benson, group display manager.

National advertising made up only 12.5% of the $30.7 billion spent on newspaper ads in 1992. National ad vertisers have long shunned newspa pers, in part because rates were up to 75% higher than those charged local retailers, according to a 1991 Ameri can Association of Advertising Agen cies study.

"I don't want to indicate that we'll ignore the rate card, but we have ways to add value to customer programs and give them better leverage," Mr. Benson said. "The whole rationale behind the program is we want people to know that newspapers are not the staid old stodgy medium that many media buyers think they are."

Media buyers were surprised to see "willing to negotiate rates" in print on the contest entry form.

"The word `negotiate' is jarring, but they're just putting down on paper what has been going on all along," said Charlie Rutman, exec VP-media manager for Backer Spielvogel Bates. "I look at this as being much bigger than `We're willing to negotiate rates.' The message The Miami Herald is sending is .|.|. `We'll listen to what your needs are and make it work .|.|. we're willing to be more competitive.'|"M

339.6The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald use a trip to Miami to attract media buyers

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