There are said to be people who stick “Please no advertisements” on their mailboxes. However, according to a representative survey by the Market and Opinion Research Institute Civey, 75 percent of households say they agree with the voluntary delivery of promotional and advertisement mailings. Therefore, I immediately set off on foot to the office and carefully observed every mailbox. My findings, which are not representative, seem to confirm the results of the survey: The notice against advertisements can be seen on just 3 of 15 mailboxes.
Unlike in the online world, the so-called opt-out system applies to printed advertisements and information mail. In contrast to the opt-in process, the recipient must consciously decide not to receive the mail and make this clear. To ensure that this remains the case and that consumers may continue to decide for themselves whether they receive unaddressed advertisements and information mail – from flyers from the pizzeria around the corner to information leaflets from the volunteer fire department – the printing and media associations (“Druck- und Medienverbände”) have just launched the initiative “Nah. Useful. Sustainable.” This is because an opt-in regulation, which is often discussed, would reverse this system. Instead, the government would put a stop to advertisement and promotional mail; consumers would have to explicitly opt in.
As part of the new initiative, the BVDM and the state associations are providing print shops with a whole series of good arguments that can help in the acquisition of orders. In addition to the fact that 75% of households like the advertisement (my daughter, who is 24, is one of them, by the way), the relevance of retail to city centers, the safeguarding of jobs in the local economy, and the use of waste paper and wood waste for the printing stock are other points that can be put forward in the discussion surrounding promotional mailings.
When asked, the store-based retail trade confirms that printed and distributed flyers provide an orientation aid and offer good opportunities for comparison in an overflowing world of consumption. Promotional mailings provide information about special offers and promotions, enabling consumers to target their in-store purchases.
It is more than plausible that the initiative focuses on the keywords “close”, “useful” and “sustainable”. The question remains whether the advertisements thrown in are actually read. According to a study conducted in 2020 by IFH Cologne, 94% of recipients of advertisements and information mail read it occasionally, 75% even weekly. The current Civey survey concludes that people aged 65 and over in particular frequently look at advertisements and information mail. Anyone who has ever delivered the weekly commercial newspaper personally knows how much retirees look forward to it.