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Wednesday, May 28 1997
Stamp Out Crime
Where should an aspiring Perry Mason troll for clients?
Where the criminals are, of course.

At least that's the message from the savvy programmers at United Reporting Publishing Co. of Rancho Cordova, who have given us the latest addition to e-mail, voice mail, and snail mail -- Jail Mail¨.

Like all true marketing breakthroughs, Jail Mail¨ is eminently simple.
According to an ad in the May California Lawyer, the Jail Mail¨ system collects arrest reports and sorts them according to type of crime, locale, and so on. Jail Mail¨ then develops a list of potential, desperate clients for its attorney-customers, and mails out letters to those jail inmates. Each of those missives appears to have been written by an attorney, on the attorney's letterhead.

"Direct mail benefits those who do not know how to find a lawyer giving you the opportunity to inform them of your qualifications," the Jail Mail¨ers tell their target clientele. Jail Mail¨ says it can send out these kinds of letters daily, raising an interesting question: Is there anywhere on the planet where junk mail can't find you?

-- P.O.

I Read It in the Condom Times
David Mayer can't seem to get enough of condoms, which he has been selling the past 10 years as head of the Oakland company of Mayer Laboratories Inc. He likes condoms so much, he even publishes a newsletter that extols condoms in general and, naturally, his variety of them in particular.

After a publishing hiatus, the Condom Times hit the streets recently with its spring issue, and it's, er, gorged with info about modern-day condom manufacturing. Mayer got his start in the prophylactic sector as a health educator handing out condoms in Contra Costa County 10 years ago. Pregnancy prevention seems to run in the family; his father, Fred, created the "Pregnant Man" consciousness-raising poster so famous a couple of decades back.

The younger Mayer started his business after major U.S. condom-makers refused his request for free samples for his educational program. He went to Japan, where only the best latex is used to make rubbers. Soon, he had scraped together some capital and begun test-marketing condom names and packages through informal surveys of BART riders. And that's how his brand, Kimono condoms, was born. ("It's not a raincoat" is the tag line.)

Mayer's still nowhere near to matching the sales of the big condom-makers, but he's hoping to make inroads on the latest condom battleground -- "microthin" sheaths.

Piggybacking on the work of Japanese manufacturers, Mayer is focused on using the highest grade of latex for his latest, thinnest condom. If he ever comes up with an edible variety, a new sales slogan is waiting for him. That's right: "No condom can be too thin, or too rich.

About The Author

Phyllis Orrick


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