Valassis responds regarding missing RedPlum inserts
The disappearance of the RedPlum insert has been a hot topic lately, both on this blog and others. Locally in Chicagoland, many northwest Indiana Chicago Tribune subscribers have reported that their RedPlum inserts disappeared sometime over the past few weeks. Some readers have attempted to sort out what happened, only to be told by the Tribune that it's RedPlum's decision to remove the insert.
So what's really going on? I spoke with Mary Broaddus, Director of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications for Valassis, which is the company that produces the RedPlum insert.
I explained that I've been hearing from a vocal group of Chicago Tribune subscribers who were previously getting RedPlum until a few weeks ago, when it stopped. "If you're talking about subscribers who are no longer getting it in the Trib, that is interesting, because really, subscribers should be the first group getting it," Mary said.
I asked if distribution of RedPlum had been scaled back or removed from certain markets, and Mary cited some interesting statistics. Back in 2004, Valassis' insert circulation was 1.1 million. Currently, it's 863,000. She said that as newspaper circulation continues to decline, insert distribution can change.
"I'm sure that those who work on our market list that I talked to about this, they're aware of the prioritization that takes place. We have the consumer, who we're very happy is interested in looking for coupons and deals, and we have our client that needs to reach some particular consumer who has a high propensity to buy. When you're working with a partner to distribute it, you definitely need to be where your client wants you to be," Mary said.
Mary offered to check on some of the specific areas in which the RedPlum insert has disappeared from the weekly Tribune (more on that in a moment if you would like to be a part of providing feedback.) We discussed the possibility of the RedPlum insert being mailed if indeed there are areas it's being pulled out of for the Chicagoland market too, as Valassis has gone to direct-mailing inserts in some parts of the country.
"I don't believe the Chicago market is a market where the FSI is available via mail, but for about 14 million FSIs, we are indeed sending them via mail across the US. We would love to see people go to RedPlum.com too to look for coupons, though we know that the offers are not the same for everybody," Mary said.
Throughout the call, Mary graciously allowed to check on certain addresses and market areas. "If I could get a few addresses of Chicago Tribune weekend subscribers, at least I can try to figure out an answer. I would want to offer that with the fluctuation of subscriptions being what they are, there could be some changes there that may not go back. We hope in those cases that RedPlum.com can be helpful," Mary said.
If you're in the Chicagoland market area and have recently noticed that your RedPlum insert is no longer being carried in your Chicago Tribune, and want to help provide information to Valassis, please email the address, city and state to which your Chicago Tribune is being delivered to. You can email this to firstname.lastname@example.org. (You do not need to include your name, and in asking you to email the information, I'm trying to avoid having it posted in a public forum.)