X-Message-Number: 13201
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2000 00:48:32 -0500
From: "Stephen W. Bridge" <>
Subject: More on Omni Contest

To CryoNet
From Steve Bridge
February 4, 2000

Hi, all.  I should have known that my answers would simply provoke more
questions.  As much as I would love to engage in this discussion at the
level I did when I was Alcor's President, parenting responsibilities
prevent much involvement.  I think this answer will be useful however. 
Several people (in CryoNet or privately) have commented that Charles Platt
didn't remember "several thousand dollars" being spent on the *Omni*
magazine immortality contest, even though he ran it.  Some have asked what
the discrepancy was.  Part of it was the way I stated that these were
"upfront" expenses.  That is sloppy writing.  The expenses were "overhead,"
in a sense, but were primarily later in the game.  Also, Charles wasn't one
of the people spending the other money, so these items didn't immediately
come to his mind.  The following is instructive to anyone working on a
promotion. "Free" often just means "less than otherwise."  Hidden costs can
be large and must be accounted for.

The contest itself was "free."  Alcor did not have to pay Omni a fee, and
we did not have to pay Omni's usual advertising fee for the two full-color

1.  However, we DID have to pay for costs of the layout and plate-making in
order to present our completed ads to Omni.  That was about $500 for each
ad, as I recall, maybe a bit less.

2.  For each person who entered the contest, we sent out a fairly
substantial information package, with a free book, magazine sample, etc.  I
believe each of those cost *Alcor* (not Omni) about $8.00 in printing,
envelopes, and postage (times 400).  The couple of thousand other people
who were induced to write to Alcor for information.  They also received a
less substantial information package, which still cost Alcor $4 or $5.00

3. Calls to Alcor's 800 number for information are not free to Alcor.  We
were paying about 24 cents a minute for daytime calls to the phone number. 

4.  We were obligated to buy a life insurance policy for the winner and we
are still paying on it.  I no longer recall the totals; but I'm pretty sure
it is in the neighborhood of $800-900 per year.

While work hours might not be thought to count as cash outlays, the more
success you have in marketing, the more people you have to hire.  And they
won't work for $15,000 per year forever.

Charles made another good point -- that no cryonics organization is
*prepared to handle true sudden success.*  We would be swamped and unable
to deliver even signup packages without a large increase in staff.  And the
more members you have, the more likely it is that you will need to do
frequent cryotransports and suspensions, so you need more equipment,
supplies, and  trained staff (and how would the already overworked team you
have also find time to train new teams and still keep up with all of the
new suspensions?).

Cryonics as practiced today is deeply inefficient.  We have to keep a full
team available all of the time, whether they do one suspension a year or
ten.  But a sudden increase would be worse.

Maybe I willbe able to answer other questions another time.

Steve Bridge

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