Friday, October 01, 2004

October 1, 2004
I watched the presidential debates last night. Couldn't stand it. Went for a walk with the dogs. Kathy came driving up: "Why aren’t you watching the debate?" I followed her back in the house but couldn't stay in the room. Too much like "The Dating Game" for my tastes. Massive petty sniping with a dash of pompous over-simplification. Kathy was applauding wildly at every Kerry jab, but I personally think Bush counter-punched very effectively with his down-home simple reactions. At best, it was a draw. Frankly, I dislike them both. Privileged, rich kids, playing student council games.

I did see a placard I thought was funny. "Help the environment—replant a Bush in Texas."

We have signed on with Dick Glassman in New York to help us get a toe hold on the national circulation front. He is a very dynamic guy, knows everyone at Kable, and we could use the help. There are 6,500 magazine titles out there all fighting for the same 150 slots. It ain't pretty, in fact, it's the toughest challenge we face.

When I was in Kansas City I met Scott Robinette, the president of Hallmark Loyalty ("Enriching relationships"). He was also a presenter at the grocer conference and we got to comparing notes. Since I'm always looking for insights and ideas, I asked him to give me the Cliff Notes version of his speech and he gave me this little gem: Discover Card had a list of card holders who were seriously overdrawn and hadn’t made a payment in some time. The catch is that they had been good customers for some time but were suddenly in arrears and were ready to be turned over to collection. Scott and his Hallmark crew asked Discover to allow them to try something. They created a card that had a Hallmark image of a long, winding road on it, and when you opened it, the card said, "You have been a long, valued customer of ours and we understand what it's like to hit tough times. If we can be of any help let us know." The pay-up rates went through the roof and paid for the campaign ten times over. Isn't that an amazing little story? And aren't you going to steal it? I know I am.

I sent Blevins a postcard yesterday. And I hope you do too. Mike Melrose gave me their actual street address. Here it is:

Blevins Stirrup Buckles
615 Ferguson Road
Wheatland, Wy 82701

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right
to tell people what they do not want to hear."

—George Orwell

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