Coupon Council hopes to improve coupon image p.25

By: Laura Reina Nears its one-year anniversary sp.

THE COUPON INDUSTRY is actively working to "give back" to its industry and to ensure the viability and long-term health of coupons.
The PMAA Coupon Council, which started in November of 1994, was formed as a reaction to issues within the coupon industry, such as falling redemption rates, bad press portraying coupons as wasteful, and manufacturers experimenting with everyday-low-pricing strategies, face values and expiration dates.
The mission of the Coupon Council, according to Lynn Liddle, vice president of corporate communications at Valassis Communications Inc., is "to isolate issues and provide information on the usage of couponing by consumers, retailers and manufacturers, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of coupons as a promotional vehicle."
Speaking at the recent Audit Bureau of Circulations' 1995 U.S. Coupon Forum, Liddle said the mission is carried out by focusing on three targets for information and education: manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.
Six different packaged goods manufacturers are presently volunteering their time to work on the manufacturer advisory committee.
The committee is involved with spreading the word about successful coupon use, and is also used as a sounding board for directing council activities. Liddle explained that retailers and coupon companies traditionally have had a love/hate relationship.
Though coupons help to increase store traffic, and retailers are paid a handling fee by manufacturers, they are still a hassle for retailers, Liddle acknowledged. The next step for the council is to focus on improving the coupon industry's partnership relationship with retailers and the retailer's image of coupons, she said.
On the consumer end, the Coupon Council hired Daniel J. Edelman, Public Relations World Wide to put a program in action which will spread the word about the value of coupons.
"We're trying to appeal to the consumer not to forget about coupons," said Liddle.
For example, financial planner and East Coast-based radio host Adrianne Berg is working as a spokesperson for the coupon industry, and is making appearances touting the virtues of coupons and how they can fit into an established financial plan.
Also for consumers, all coupon supplier companies involved with the council are sponsoring the "Great American Coupon Celebration," a contest which will last from October to December and will be promoted through member vehicles, magazines and newspapers.
Liddle said that the coupon industry looks at newspapers as a key conduit for getting a positive message out about coupons.
Members of the council include Actmedia, Catalina Marketing, CMS, Inc., Donnelley Marketing, Indiana Data, NCH Promotional Services, News America FSI and Valassis Communications.
Liddle said that the coupon industry looks at
newspapers as a key conduit for getting a positive message out about coupons.


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