An old friend of mine—and of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED—called up the other day. He asked how I was, as old friends have a way of doing. I explained that I had never felt better. He accepted this in conversational stride and with as much enthusiasm as the situation really called for. Then with somewhat more concern he asked after the health of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
That, too, I was glad to tell him, had never been better either. Circulation was at a new high; advertisers were continuing to join us in increasing numbers and with expanded schedules; and on our recent fourth birthday, as we blew out the candles on the cake, we could hardly have been more optimistic.
Well, he had been wondering, he said. It seems that he had lately noticed newsstand copies of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED offered for the uncommon price of 13�. What was up?
Newsstand sales, for one thing, I said. We thought it was a likely way to make new friends and influence new people, with something he might have heard of—an "introductory offer."
Ah, he said, like soap and cereal.
More or less, I said. On the theory that if someone tries SPORTS ILLUSTRATED once he'll buy it again—if it's any good.
And does it turn out, this old friend and charter subscriber asked with studied gruffness, that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is any good?
I had to tell him that we don't know yet how many new friends we have but we know we've made a raft of new acquaintances. For during the time of the reduced prices newsstands emptied very fast all over, so fast that some late arrivals found SPORTS ILLUSTRATED already come and gone.
And we know for sure that we have one new friend. She's Mrs. Wallace Carpenter of Old Greenwich, Conn., who wrote: "I went to the supermarket on Friday with about a dozen discount coupons in my purse. I bought what they were good for and some other things on sale. Standing in the checkout line I spied another special, a 13� SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
"It is very special indeed, and I'm only sorry it's taken me this long to discover it. I'll be looking for it again this week, and if it costs all of 25�, I'm sure it will be worth it."