No More Red Plum Inserts in Some Newspapers


Last week I received and email from a reader asking if I knew why red Plum inserts stopped showing up in her Sunday newspaper inserts.  This is happening in a lot of newspapers across major cities in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New jersey, Utah, Virginia, Washington DC, North Carolina, Maryland and Texas.  This is the press release about this:

“Starting in February, the RedPlum coupon booklet will now be delivered in Cleveland through consumers’ mailboxes along with their weekly grocery circulars and other savings and deals. By using direct mail, the RedPlum insert will now be able to reach almost twice as many Cleveland households as in the past. In these challenging economic times, it has never been more important to make these essential savings available to as many Clevelanders as possible so they can stretch the dollars in their wallets.”Thomas Murray, Vice President of the Valassis Corporation

If you are being impacted by this you have three options available:

  1. Contact the companies that advertise and issue coupon in the Red Plum inserts and express your discontent.  You can find a list of the companies and contact information here.  You can also contact the Valassis Company itself (issuers of Red Plum) and complain online or by calling the number 1-800-437-0479.
  2. You can leave a comment about how this is affecting you on this website created to bring attention to Valassis about how this impacts consumers.
  3. You can also sign up to get your coupons delivered via mail here.

Even if you have not been impacted by this, I think it is smart to voice your concern.  Given the current economic situation a lot of newspapers and printers are having a lot of problems staying afloat.  Who is to say that Valassis won’t eventually stop issuing coupons all together.

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  • Kristin

    Am I the only one who didn’t receive any coupons today in South eastern WI?

    • adrienne

      I have pages of documentation on how I tried to contact redplum/valassis about this issue and asked very direct questions on the “target markets” and I was ignored the majority of the time or recieved an auto reply telling me to go on line and those are NOT the same coupons. Whats more confusing is that we all live in the same zip code within walking distance of one anothers home and some get them and some don’t. I mean literally across the street and in these tough economic times it makes a HUGE impact so I have began shopping more at discount stores like Aldi’s and Save A Lot.

  • Kristin,

    There are no coupons in today’s newspapers.


  • Kristin

    Maybe I missed something but is there a reason?

  • Thanx for the heads up. I had noticed my local paper stopped carrying the Red Plum, and I had started buying the Philly Sunday Paper

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  • I was upset when I first found out that my newspaper stopped carrying the Red Plum insert. However, if I can still get it in the mail, I have realized it is not a big deal. In my area we get the grocery circulars on Thursdays in our mailbox. So I will get Red Plum on Thursday instead of Sunday, but so will everyone else. The coupons haven’t been discontinued. At first I thought they HAD been discontinued and I would not have access anymore. But since I can still get them, so I’m not sure what the big deal is.


    I went to two stores in Jourdanton, and all the Sunday newspapers had NO COUPONS!

    Did the newspaper forget, was the person who is in charge of stuffing the papers out partying last night, did someone take all the coupons, did all the coupons fly out when they were being brought from San Antonio? I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!

    I am going to go and cry and wail now. Talk amongst yourselves.

    • Hi Leslie and Kristin,

      There are no coupons today because it is a Holiday weekend (Presiden’t day). That’s usually the case on Holiday weekends = no coupon inserts in the newspapers.


  • Fujiko

    I did get the Red Plum last week in the Philly area (I think we had three inserts so I am assuming one was a Red Plum), but I’m not sure what the drawback would be if we started getting them in the mail. (I mean, will they be free?!) Is it more likely that they will stop producing coupons if they are not in the paper? I wouldn’t mind even paying for coupons to be sent to my house as long as it doesn’t cost more than what I pay now. It seems like the newspapers are doing poorly so if they do go out of business, wouldn’t it be better if we were getting coupons through the mail?

    As an aside, since there were no inserts in our paper this week… all of the newspaper racks were brimming at CVS this morning (when most of the time they are gone). I’m wondering if people even buy the paper other than us avid coupon clipper.

  • I am in Las Vegas and we started receiving the Red Plum inserts with our weekly grocery flyers months ago. About 3 weeks ago, those stopped. I haven’t seen a Red Plum in weeks. We also don’t get the P&G BrandSavers (once in a year have I seen it in our paper). We are down to Smart Source and that’s it. It’s pretty frustrating!

  • Thanks for letting us know about this. Last week, the Red Plum insert wasn’t in my DC area paper and I was mad. Then it appeared in my mailbox later in the week.

  • Some may not think it’s a big deal about the inserts being mailed rather than inserted in the newspaper. But for those who might like to have an extra set of coupons, you can’t buy an extra newspaper to get them now. You’re now out of luck…unless you’re planning to ask up and down the street for people who may not want theirs. Anyone for dumpster diving?

  • I haven’t gotten one in a while and I live near Cleveland and they are not coming with my ad. Thanks for the link to sign up for them!

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  • Kate

    I currently get RedPlum in the mail, and it is NOT the same as the coupons. It is store inserts, with maybe a coupon or two. It IS a big deal, because they aren’t mailing coupons, just ads!!! And Camille, are you getting a local paper or the big metropolitan area paper? Go for the biggest paper in the area to get the most coupons.

  • Oh whew, I thought I was robbed when my paper came with no coupons! 🙂

  • Connie Alspaugh

    I got my paper today at Kroger. It was the Dayton Daily News. Most papers didn’t have any coupons and the employee I spoke to thought customers stole them. 🙁 It’s sad that the truth is worse.

  • Nancy

    There were no coupons (Red Plum or Smart Source) in the Chicago Tribune Sunday, Feb. 15. I emailed them to see if there was a problem. They’re usually pretty good at responding.

  • I don’t get the Kroger and Albertsons circulars anymore – only Sprouts and a few other small stores. I wonder if it will be in the mail that I get on Tuesday with that stuff.

    Any idea when it will start?

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  • Erin

    Are these red plum coupons that are delivered during the week the same as the ones in the Sunday paper? I have always gotten a direct mail Red Plum that contains local restaurant coupons, oil change coupons, and the occassional grocery coupon. They in no way compare to the inserts in the Sunday paper.

  • Erin,
    I also signed up to get Red Plum inserts via mail and all I get is junk mail really!

  • I signed up awhile back and haven’t received anything. If I did, it was just junk that got tossed.

  • Sandi

    You know, these coupons are not published and distributed as a public service. It is a business to make money and if they aren’t making money, they’ll change their approach. Everyone talks as if they have some kind of right to receive these coupons. Come on, they are an advertising tool. Just be happy to get what you can and keep doing your best to save money for your family.

    • Hi Sandi,

      I have an MBA, I understand how businesses work. This is why I suggested to my readers that they voice their concern so that the publishers now there is a demand for their product. If we all just accepted things as they are thrown at us that would make us very complacent consumers. We all have a right to voice our dissatisfaction when a service or product changes. That’s a right noone can take away.



  • Tom Murray

    I work for RedPlum/Valassis and yes we have move the coupon insert to the mail from the newspaper in several markets. Please keep in mind, in every market significantly MORE consumers are revieving the coupon insert. For example, in Cleveland we now mail 1,028,000 Cleveland Households while the Plain Dealer only reaches 440,000 households. Clearly this is better for the market as a whole. In the end mannufactures want to reach as many individual HH’s as possible rather than one HH’s buying as many as 20 newspapers as I have read about on other sites.
    Finally, as newspaper subscribers continue to decline year after year mail ensures our abiltiy to reach consumers in Cleveland and other markets

    Thanks for reading

    • Tom,

      Thank you so much for your email and for leaving a comment on my blog. I am sure direct mail is good for companies as a whole but I am not sure it is good for regular coupons users. These are just two situations I can share from personal experience:
      1) As a regular coupon user I understand that I save more money by using more than one like coupon. I am not talking about 20 of the same coupons. But a family of four that uses coupons to save money and uses them well, understands that they will save the most by stockpiling items. I regularly need two or three sets of coupon inserts. If my family regularly consumes orange juice, I know I will save more by having three coupons to buy three half gallons than just having one coupon. By sending inserts by mail now I only can buy brand orange juice once with my coupon and I will probably buy generic the next time because it is everyday lower priced than brand orange juice.
      2) I live in a region that gets very poor coupons in their inserts. Either the value of the coupons is lower or a lot of the coupons that other areas get are not included in my inserts. I work around this by buying the newspaper of the largest metro area closer to me. If my coupons are mailed to me I know they will still be the same poor coupons from before and now I don’t have access to better value coupons because they are not available to me in the Sunday newspapers. So what am I likely to do? use generic brands. This is advice that is everywhere on the media: don’t want to bother clipping coupons? buy generic. With no coupons to use that’s exactly what a lot of people will do.

      I understand the benefits of deeper market penetration to companies You are aiming to gain more coupon users and turn occasional coupon users into regular coupon users. But by taking coupon inserts away from newspaper distribution you are also alienating a lot of current regular coupon users. Also, using internet printable coupons is not an option to many because a lot of retailers refuse to accept them. I am also concerned that this would create greater demand for the coupons issued through Smartsource, surely having only one issuer of coupons through newspaper inserts can’t be healthy for the industry. Is there a way you could do direct mail and newspaper distribution?

      Thank you again for taking the time to comment on my blog. I really appreciate it.

      Mercedes Levy

    • Erica

      I live in Big Spring, TX and I have not received any Red Plum inserts in my Sunday paper. I’ve been purchasing the paper for months now. Any suggestions ? Ive called red plum and they were NO help!

  • Cali

    Thanks for making people aware of this! I urge everyone to write and call the advertisers. It is worth your time, because many manufacturers will respond with coupons through the mail. Please visit to find out the latest developments. Also, call your local television and radio stations and ask them to report on this. In Cleveland, 2 TV stations and 1 radio station has made everyone aware of what’s going on.

  • Amy

    To: Tom Murray

    Mr. Murry, if you are the REAL Tom Murray from RP then you’ll understand the REAL reason the coupon world is up in arms. We do NOT care that you are reaching more people – you are not reaching out to the people that you’ve made your money on. You are now reaching “quantity” instead of “quality”. The real couponers want access to more than one insert. Your direct mail campaign is a bust according to bloggers across the country who have signed up for it and have yet to receive it. Give those of us who support you and your advertisers what we want: PUT THE COUPONS BACK IN THE PAPER.

  • I did receive them in the mail along with my grocery ads. But the ads had already expired! The sales that I would have gone to had already passed. I am therefore extremely frustrated.

  • Sarah


    Do you have your paper (from the next largest city) mailed to you or delivered? I don’t get the same coupons as larger cities in my state, but so far I cannot find a newspaper that will deliver outside their area.

    • Sarah,

      I buy the newspaper at Walmart or the Dollar Tree.


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  • Jane

    As an advertising executive that has worked with Valassis and News America for over 20 years as an advertiser within their FSI products, I have a slightly different opinion on this matter.

    Let’s look at the pure economies of scale… newspapers are losing readership (and have been for years). The Cleveland Plain-Dealer (the impetus for much of the negative blog posting) lost 2.7% Sunday circ. from 2004-05, -1.6% in 05-06, -1.4% in 06-07 and the 07-08 figures will not be pretty. Advertisers are looking to reach as many people as possible with their advertising in the most cost-effective manner. The fact is that, while a small group of people may think that their purchase of multiple copies of the newspapers is a powerful driver of successful ROI, the fact is that if an advertiser can reach 10%, 20% 30% or 40+% more people by using the mail for the same cost per person as using a newspaper, that is a good thing!

    The inability of a group of people to buy multiples of a product using multiple coupons is significantly offset by the ability of an advertiser to reach hundreds of thousands of new consumers who might buy their products.

    While consumers may find this hard to believe, manufacturers don’t actually want people buying 10 newspapers to use 10 coupons on their products. They would much rather have 7 new people each use one coupon? Really? They would rather sell 7 items instead of 10? Yes! Coupons are about trial — the goal isn’t to give multiple coupons to a single person — it is to engage a large group of people to try the product and hopefully become regular consumers. To do that, you need to get your coupons in the hands of the most consumers.

    If anyone believes that the manufacturers want them using multiple coupons at one time, they need to know that is not reality. That is why there isn’t a coupon every week for the same product. That is why manufacturers are embracing the move to distribution via direct mail. That is why P&G (the largest pckaged goods company in the world) does not advertise online — they are worried about coupon fraud (i.e., consumers printing multiple copies). By that same argument, they would consider the buying of 10 copies of a newspaper to be “newspaper fraud”. In other words, they don’t want people using 10 coupons. They want you using one coupon and then returning to purchase more of the product at the regular price. If manufacturers really wanted you to buy multiples with coupons, they could provide coupons that can be used on the purchase of “up to 10 products”. Then you only need one coupon and can buy as many of each product as you need. Ask yourself why they don’t do this.

    Additioanlly, the newspaper business is in danger, and it’s got nothing to do with Red Plum moving to mail (I find the posts ironic that claim that Red Plum moving to mail will put the newspapers out of business). The newspapers don’t need any help with that. In the last 2-1/2 months, 33 newspapers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer and many more. And, yes they all carry SmartSource and Red Plum coupons and they are still failing financially!

    We really can’t blame Red Plum for listening to their advertisers and providing a strategic solution (with shifts to mail and online couponing) that increase the coverage for their advertisers, allow more consumers to have access to their coupons and provide an option should newspapers close or cease business (like the Rocky Mountain News)?

    Bloggers, while disappointed that they no longer have access to 10 coupons for their favorite product should be thankful that hundreds of thousands of other consumers in their market can now receive coupon discouts during this financially dificult time. They should be excited that, should their newspaper cease operations, they will still be able to receive their Red Plum coupons in the mail. And they should be pushing their retailers to accept online coupons (if they currently don’t). Finally, they should be making friends with their neighbors, because if they want extra coupons, all they need to do is ask their neighbors if they can have theirs (and they don’t even need to buy extra newspapers to get them).

    • Jane,

      Thank for your comment. Needless to say it is “heartwarming” to read that this is all about Red Plum’s and the manufacturer’s bottom line. I always knew it was all about that and I am glad you had the guts to come out and just say what it is plainly evident.
      I don’t understand why I should be thankful that others are saving while I won’t be able to anymore. Perhaps this is the mentality you have bought into at Valassis. However, from the consumer’s point of view, I am NOT thankful.
      Like I told Tom, you are switching from regular coupon users to infrequent coupon users. That’s your choice. But don’t come here trying to make consumers agree with your corporate mentality because it’s not very likely it will happen. The same way you don’t care about our bottom line, we don’t care about yours.

      PS. I am glad to hear manufacturer’s don’t care about brand loyalty. It will make the switch to generic guilt-free.

  • Amy

    Jane – you are funny. You cut & paste your same exact post from the Bring Back The Coupons website and put it on here. I’m thinking your IP address is going to reveal where you’re truly from even though you denied it on the BBTC site.

    I hardly think you are a random poster with no agenda. I wonder where else your response will show up….

  • val

    Uugh!! That is so frustrating- just another thing that’s going to kill off newspapers all together. I think they should still do both – mailed and in the papers. I just moved from Florida and the Sunday paper was chock full of coupons. It was my Sunday thing to sit on the bed with the inserts and clip coupons. There were so many I could hardly get through them in a day. Then I moved to back to Ohio and nothing. That little insert that comes via mail is a joke. It is clearly not the caliber of coupons given out in the Orlando market. Mostly ads for check gallery and slippers with maybe 2 or 3 sucky coupons. I have turned to get coupons on line and printing and now I am out of ink. LOL!!!! Should I factor the ink cost into my savings? LOL

  • Meal

    I would buy the Chicago paper in Lansing Mi just for the coupons they were always better than the ones in ours. Without them I have no reason to buy a paper.

  • Erin

    this must just now be catching up to me because as of august of 2011 I have not been receiving any red plum inserts and there has reportedly been inserts in every weeks paper. This is highly annoying and aggravating.

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  • I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
    your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to
    come back down the road. All the best

  • alivta

    Red plum is not in the paper in the Tampa Bay area but it has been mail to some zip code not all 610 607 613 620 619 603 and many more but it in Brandon, Westchase ,Carrollwood,South Tampa, Hyde Park

  • susy

    Our family will be switching to generic, store brands & dollar store products. Bad Policy, Red Plum. Tell your marketing department, if I don’t have a coupon for your product , I won’t buy it.can’t afford it

  • angel

    Hi ,
    I think it’s kind of cap that people who live in apartment around my area can get redplum inserts. But me as a resident can not even get one. Know there are people around here that are getting a cap lot of them and selling them for .50 each. I think that a rip off to me . When you buy a paper for a dollar and say there are 3 inserts in there. So that would be 1.50 instead of 1.00. The people in this economy are already struggling with there bill and paying for there also. With water bills going up again and again just within a three month process. Ever since I have not been getting the redplum I have not bought anything from any of the companies that listed in the redplum inserts. I really did like the products that where in there. I would really like to be able to get my coupon books again.