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June 9, 1945
SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW
Direct-Mail Stunts That Click
(Continued from Page 87)
deal that can be accomplished by an occasional "institutional" type of letter signed by the manager and written in personalized style. These may deal with a single picture showing in the near future or with a group of forthcoming attractions, or concern the theatre's policy of catering to community desires and asking for suggestions as to what type of pictures, hours of starting shows, etc., the individual would recommend.
There are, of course, an infinite variety of novelty or special angles which can be exploited by direct mail advertising. For straight institutional selling one of the readiest sources for striking an "appeal note" is to consult the calendar. January naturally suggests the beginning of a new year, the resolutions made and those kept.
Theme of a letter, therefore, could well be
to the effect that the theatre is proud of the start it has made in creating a better and bigger new year of choice entertainment and how that resolution is being lived up to as evidenced by the booking of such and such pictures for the forthcoming weeks. Summer months call for reference to the bane of mosquitoes — which will not bother the person who comes to the theatre for recreation — the weariness of working in hot offices or kitchens and that can be entirely compensated by a visit to the nice, cool atmosphere of the theatre. When no other more topical event occurs, the calendar can be a mighty good guide to the style of the mail piece or letter.
Some ideas for mail pieces, other than the regular house program, are: Institutional. The most dignified and the most direct way of putting over institutional messages is by letter. If you feel your theatre is playing an important part in the life of the community tell 'em so.
Personals Gag. For smaller localities this works like a charm. Manager clips personal notes from local paper. When he has about 200 he sends the person mentioned cards, with copy like this : "I have been reading this about you — now will you read about us?" Then short ad copy about attraction. The clipping from the paper is pasted on card.
Jap Hunting License. The idea here is to get over the message of slaying the Jap, usually in connection with Bond or Stamp drives. You can have imitation licenses made up or simply print the copy on penny post cards. Text runs something like this : "This entitles you to shoot Japs on sight any time, any place — even out of season." This can be signed by theatre manager, who hopes reader will buy more bonds and come to see his next attraction.
Summons. You are familiar with this direct mail idea. A legal-looking summons arrives for the householder which summons him to attend
at the Theatre. Penalty
for non-attendance is loss of many laughs, great entertainment, etc.
Keep Up Barrage of Selling Activities to Keep Attendance Up to the Profit Level This Summer
EARLY BIRD BENCHES: Old stunt, but still good. Borrow a couple of park benches and locate them on the sidewalk in front of the theatre (if city regulations forbid, set them in the lobby) with signs stating they are reserved for those who will be on hand early to get tickets to see
INSTITUTIONAL CONTACTS: Invite orphans to a matinee at regular intervals. Provide transportation to and from the theatre. (Here's the chance for a tieup with a bus line: Sign on the bus: "We're on our way to the cool and comfortable Blank to see, etc." If an auto, sign could read: "We're riding in style in a so-and-so to the cool Blank, etc.") Be sure your goodwill gesture nets you a newspaper publicity story.
USE 'EM: If bowling alleys are your toughest competition why not use them to your advantage by tying in with the owners of alleys to give passes to high scoring individuals and teams in return for the display of attraction signs at the end of each alley and at the cashier's counter.
RESTAURANT TIE-UP: The owners of the eating places are given an opportunity to extend special favors to their guests in the form of cards advertising the theatre's attraction and entitling the holder to special box-office discounts if presented before a certain hour. In making the discount appear as coming from the restaurant the pos
sibility of aggravating regular patrons is avoided. The cards are passed by the waiters to all diners between certain hours of the afternoon and the theatre is allowed to exhibit displays in preferred places of the restaurant. You will have to allow your particular peak hours and prices dictate the time limit for the price to be changed. If you have the problem of getting them in to the early evening shows the idea has great promise.
UMBRELLA BALLYHOO: Very familiar, but still good — inexpensive, too — is a street ballyhoo using men or girls on sunshiny days carrying opened umbrellas that are lettered with the message about your theatre.
PAJAMA PARADE: Interest the biggest store in your town in lending; the garments for a "Pa jama Parade" or a "Slacks Parade," and get some goodlooking models to display them at your theatre.
DISPLAY IDEA: The ice cream carts that cater to school kids offer an excellent place for attraction advertising. The cart pusher will gladly trade space on each side of his cart for a pass.
DISPLAY SPOTS: Swimming pools attract people who are considered as the best theatre prospects. Get a message to every bather by arranging to print the signs that go on the walls or doors of dressing rooms cautioning
about checking valuables. In return the proprietor should give you preferred space at the cashier's cage and over the check racks.
RURAL TRADE: Theatres in agricultural districts need that rural business. Solicit every feed store, implement dealer, etc., and make some deal that allows you to insert theatre copy in their monthly mail. Be sure you have plenty of advertising around the eity farm market or other places where farmers sell direct to consumers. How about signs on the farmers' wagons or trucks?
GOOD DEED COLUMN: How about getting together with your newspaper editor and having him run a "Good Deed of Today in (Blankville)" column? The newspaper staff keeps a lookout for people who do some extra nice act for another person and writes it up in the column.
CLASSIFIED ADS: How long since you had a tie-up with the classified department of your newspaper? How about a comic mixed copy ad contest? A missing word or misspelled word contest? A lot of people look through the classified ads.
SUMMERTIME SANTA: Dress a man as Chris Kringle and have him carry a sign "six months ahead of the world the blank theatre brings you a swell present in