Mickey Rooney wants to make credit cards a part of his next show.
At 73, the star of "The Will Rogers Follies," "Boys Town," and the Andy Hardy movies has turned into a marketer of information, services, and discounts to people over 50.
He is soliciting credit card issuers for lists of their customers. The banks would get a cut of the profits from his marketing package, called "Mickey's Family."
To Play ABA Conference
"Mickey's Family is my personal legacy to my own generation of |experienced' Americans--it's a chance to bring back some of the magic of the good old days and help those over 50 inject lots more fun and excitement into our golden years," said the actor.
He will be at the American Bankers Association's national bank card conference in Washington today and Tuesday to drum up interest.
A $49-a-year membership in Mickey's Family includes a monthly letter from Mr. Rooney highlighting his "life lessons," a monthly newsletter of Hollywood gossip, invitations to resorts where members can hobnob with screen idols, and quarterly drawings for free trips to Hollywood for dinner and sightseeing with Mr. Rooney and his celebrity friends.
Telephone Service Discounts
Practical money-saving opportunities, such as discounts on long-distance telephone service (provided that members switch over to a service called Trans National Communications, which operates over U.S. Sprint wires), discount travel, and warnings against scams will also be part of the offer.
Will it sell?
According to Association Benefit Corp. of Herndon, Va., which helped develop the package, Mr. Rooney was flooded with letters from people who wanted to join Mickey's Family after they hear him describe it on recent television talk shows.
"Some of the hottest products out there are promoted by older actors," said Michael Salaman, director of marketing for S.A.C. Telemarketing Inc., which is promoting Mickey's Family through direct mail, infomercials, and telemarketing.
Mickey's Family appeals to nostalgia buffs as "a sort of People magazine for the older market," Mr. Salaman said.
Banks that sign on, he added, would probably earn 15% to 20% of the gross revenue from the $49 fee.
Several banks, including Chase Manhattan Corp., have already expressed an interest in the program, but the real push for sign-ons begins this week at the ABA conference.