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Press release from PR Newswire

Celebrating 125 Years: The Coupon Continues to Deliver Value as Distribution Channels Evolve

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Celebrating 125 Years: The Coupon Continues to Deliver Value as Distribution Channels Evolve09:32 EDT Tuesday, August 28, 2012Celebrate National Coupon Month in September by SavingLIVONIA, Mich., Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Valassis (NYSE: VCI), one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, continues its mission to deliver value to consumers how, when and where they want along the path that was forged 125 years ago with the birth of the coupon, celebrated during National Coupon Month each September.While the coupon itself has evolved tremendously since that first one in 1887, it continues to deliver savings and ad value, encouraging consumers to try a new product as it did when John Pemberton, a pharmacist from Atlanta, created the recipe for what would become Coca-Cola. He distributed free drink cards encouraging trial of this new product ? a promotional tactic still used today. Little did he know then the trend he would start with a key promotional tool for marketers and how coupons would become so highly sought after by consumers.Within the first few years, Asa Candler, who had acquired the rights to Coca-Cola, arranged with pharmacies to direct mail account-specific coupons to customers for a free beverage at the soda fountain and the handwritten coupon was transformed to reach a target audience. The coupon soon began its evolution over the last century into offers good anywhere for products and services of just about any kind. "As an inventor and innovator, I have to think that John Pemberton would have embraced today's advertising environment where print and digital converge to get trial for his new product," said Suzie Brown, Valassis Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing.  "In 2012, brands are promoting in innovative ways much like he did 125 years ago. Likewise, as an avid promoter, Asa Candler would likely have supported the expansion of print coupons into today's digital world to further reach potential buyers wherever they are. So much has changed but, at the heart of a promotion, it is still all about driving response."In 2011, NCH Marketing Services, Inc., reported 305 billion coupons were distributed and Americans saved $4.6 billion using coupons. Historically, during recessionary times coupon use has increased as consumers have become more savings focused."The growth in coupon distribution and redemption that we have seen during the most recent recession has similarities to the trends of past economic periods," said Charlie Brown, NCH Marketing Services Vice President of Marketing. "Today's coupon, however, has undergone a transformation in the eyes of the consumer. While they may have used coupons out of necessity in the past, now consumers are proud to be planning their shopping specifically to save with coupons."Delivered in print, in-store, online, mobile and in the social sphere as consumers seek out savings from multiple sources, today the coupon is clipped, printed, downloaded to grocery loyalty cards and shared on Facebook®, via emails and Tweets.  According to the 2012 RedPlum Purse String Study of more than 9,100 consumers, the top five sources of where consumers most often get their coupons and deals are the: newspaper, email/coupons alerts, retail circulars, internet searches and the mail, which captures an array of distribution methods.Part of saving in this fast-paced, value-oriented environment is sharing those great deals.  Additional findings of the RedPlum Purse String Study, in its fifth year, indicate that 82% share or swap coupons and those who share more, save more. In fact, 50% of those who "always" share deals save $31 or more each week compared to 18% who "never" share.  Consumers share deals in a variety of ways ? 67% by word of mouth; 55% exchange physical coupons; 40% email; 28% via social media. Valassis recently launched the RedPlum Social Savings? app, which allows consumers to share, print and download coupons to their store loyalty card without leaving Facebook, an environment where sharing thrives. This coupon savings app on Facebook Platform has been embraced by consumers with a strong adoption rate. Recognizing the influence of social media coupled with consumers' desire to share great deals, this skinable app allows brands, manufacturers and retailers to reach today's savings-savvy consumer, making it easy to socialize and save at the same time. You can get the app at:  http://apps.facebook.com/redplumsocialsavings/."The coupon started it all 125 years ago, and today it is still a tried and true promotional tool," said Valassis' Suzie Brown. "What's changed is the multitude of channels now available to distribute coupons as consumer garner value how, when and where they want. Undoubtedly, this evolution will continue with print and digital providing the perfect mix."  About ValassisValassis is one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, offering unparalleled reach and scale to more than 15,000 advertisers. Its RedPlum® media portfolio delivers value on a weekly basis to over 100 million shoppers across a multi-media platform ? in-home, in-store and in-motion. Through its digital offerings, including redplum.com and save.com, consumers can find compelling national and local deals. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan with approximately 7,000 associates in 28 states and eight countries, Valassis is widely recognized for its associate and corporate citizenship programs, including its America's Looking for Its Missing Children® program. Valassis companies include Valassis Direct Mail, Inc., Valassis Canada, Promotion Watch, Valassis Relationship Marketing Systems, LLC, NCH Marketing Services, Inc. and Brand.net. For more information, visit http://www.valassis.com, http://www.redplum.com and http://www.save.com. To learn about advertising opportunities with RedPlum, please call 1-800-437-0479. Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-looking StatementsThis document contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the following: price competition from our existing competitors; new competitors in any of our businesses; a shift in client preferences for different promotional materials, strategies or coupon delivery methods, including, without limitation, as a result of declines in newspaper circulation and/or increased competition from new media formats including digital; an unforeseen increase in paper or postal costs; changes which affect the businesses of our clients and lead to reduced sales promotion spending, including, without limitation, a decrease of marketing budgets which are generally discretionary in nature and easier to reduce in the short-term than other expenses; our substantial indebtedness, and ability to refinance such indebtedness, if necessary, and our ability to incur additional indebtedness, may affect our financial health; the financial condition, including bankruptcies, of our clients, suppliers, senior secured credit facility lenders or other counterparties; certain covenants in our debt documents could adversely restrict our financial and operating flexibility; fluctuations in the amount, timing, pages, weight and kinds of advertising pieces from period to period, due to a change in our clients' promotional needs, inventories and other factors, including, without limitation, high levels of coupon redemption rates; our failure to attract and retain qualified personnel may affect our business and results of operations; a rise in interest rates could increase our borrowing costs; possible governmental regulation or litigation affecting aspects of our business; clients experiencing financial difficulties, or otherwise being unable to meet their obligations as they become due, could affect our results of operations and financial condition; uncertainty in the application and interpretation of applicable state sales tax laws may expose us to additional sales tax liability; and general economic conditions, whether nationally, internationally, or in the market areas in which we conduct our business, including the adverse impact of the ongoing economic downturn on the marketing expenditures and activities of our clients and prospective clients as well as our vendors, with whom we rely on to provide us with quality materials at the right prices and in a timely manner. These and other risks and uncertainties related to our business are described in greater detail in our filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, including our reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q and the foregoing information should be read in conjunction with these filings.  We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.SOURCE ValassisFor further information: Mary Broaddus, Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, +1-734-591-7375, broaddusm@valassis.com