What Looks Like a Sweeps, Works [Almost] Like a Sweeps, But Isn’t a Sweeps?

What Looks Like a Sweeps, Works [Almost] Like a Sweeps, But Isn’t a Sweeps?

Ever since the legal troubles surrounding sweepstakes descended on the industry, publishers who relied on this sure-fire sub-producer have been scrambling to find alternatives that deliver the thrill to prospects without the danger of back-firing on the magazines.

And clever creatives have indeed come up with winning variations on the theme–some of which might be adaptable even by magazines that haven’t gone the sweeps route in the past.

“Premiums are playing a big role,” notes John Ruggiero, creative director of the Rye, NY-based direct mall agency Provoke! Inc. “Some magazines are positioning premiums almost as prizes, referring to them as ‘rewards’ or ‘awards’ for sampling the magazine.

“The premiums are promoted in packages that have been adapted from sweeps controls,” Ruggiero adds. “The packages have all of the same kinds of bells and whistles as the sweeps packages–certificates and involvement devices galore–minus the sweeps.”

In one variation, the nature of the gift is revealed by using a scratch-off card. In another, the prospect is tantalized by being told how many gifts he or she will receive, but not what the gifts actually are.

Like most direct mail ideas, the core concepts here aren’t brand new. “But they’re definitely being used by a growing number of publishers,” Ruggiero says.

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