Is the jig up? There are reports that Valassis Corporation who produces the Red Plum Coupon inserts has pulled the inserts from several markets in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, Washington D.C., North Carolina, Maryland, and Texas. At first I didn’t think I was affected but I do realize now that the week I was missing an insert was a Red Plum from the Kokomo Tribune. The Red Plum is still available from the Indy Star as far as I know.
Apparently Valassis thinks having internet printables (some stores are inconsistent with their treatment of Internet Printables, many internet printables do not double, some consumers have no access to internet or a printer,and others just can’t get them to print on their computer or limited because they use public access terminals) and mailing out Red Plum insert to customers is now enough. I would think with the rise of postage costs, this would be more costly for Valassis. They have not taken into account that many people buy extra newspaper inserts to maximize their savings or buy extra items for charity. In addition, couponers are probably keeping some newspapers afloat by couponers buying extra papers each week just for the extra inserts!
This brings me to the question, is this the beginning of the end of coupons as we know it? I hope not because good old fashioned Sunday Coupon Inserts are what I mainly use to save! In fact, most manufacturer’s view coupons as a form of advertisement. You can’t get that same advertisement in a printable internet coupon or a “e coupon”. Only consumers who sign up for the Red Plum inserts in these areas will receive them INSTEAD of the thousands of people who buy the Sunday paper and flip through the ads/inserts. I’m not a marketing expert but does this make sense to you? Did the manufacturer’s who purchase ad space from Valassis approve of this?
Here’s a news story on the subject: Valassis Angers Blogger Moms by Yanking Red Plum Inserts from newspapers. On a side note, I’m disturbed by this branding of mom bloggers as “angry”. Using the term angry makes us all sound like some type of mad mob, which I guess we really could become if they take away our coupons….So Valassis, do you really want to ANGER your target demographic?