Captive Audience


July 1998


Captive Audience

Retailer puts ads in public restrooms

We all gotta go sometime. That's the principle behind an ad campaign by Dallas Gold and Silver Exchange, Dallas, TX. For four years, the jewelry retailer has plastered its ads above urinals and on the insides of toilet-stall doors. President Billy Oyster figures it's a good way to make sure folks take a good, long look at what he has to say.

The bathrooms are in health clubs, high-end restaurants and nightclubs – places that attract youngish consumers with high disposable income. The ads feature the retailer's used Rolex watches – yep, Oyster sells Oysters – plus its diamonds, gold jewelry, coins and appraisal service. They're text-heavy, Oyster admits, but that's no problem because people have time to read them. Oyster spends $7,000 to $8,000 annually for the ads, which appear in hundreds of local restrooms.

He's just one of the many marketers using offbeat, alternative advertising venues. Some companies have started to stick their messages on fresh fruit, while others spread the word over the floors of grocery and convenience stores. Marketers are experimenting with commercials that run on TV-like screens at gas-station pumps while people fill up their tanks, and they're testing "talking" ads at automated telling machines as people fill up their wallets. And before long, advertisers will be able to buy time on cassettes that play in rental cars, according to The New York Times.

The amount spent on such ads and other "out of home" media is still a tiny portion of total advertising expenditures – just about 2%. But it's growing fast, rising from $2.6 billion in 1990 to $3.8 billion in 1996, The Timessays.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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