Professional Jeweler Archive: Sacre Bleu!

October 2000

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Sacre Bleu!

Ads on Café Tables? French café supplier offers innovative advertising option


The notion of putting advertisements on the tops of Parisian café tables is so, well, American, that if the entrepreneurs who thought up the idea weren’t French, it might cause an international incident.

Instead, the owners of Impact Diffusion – whose 8,000 tables supplied to café owners carry promotions for companies such as Swatch watches, United Airlines, Virgin Cola and French cigarette maker OCB – say their company could be the saviour of French café culture. Traditional cafés in France have suffered in recent years with the proliferation of fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s.

“We want to make the terraces of France more dynamic,” Jacques Delavault told The Wall Street Journal. “Fewer and fewer people are going to cafés every year, and we want to make cafés more interesting places for people to visit.”

According to Delavault, the concept originated three years ago when he and partner Akim Rezgui were having a drink at a café. Service was so slow he had time to read the menu under the glass tabletop. “What a great place to put an ad,” he thought.

Though it’s common for beer distributors and other vendors to provide logo-bearing furniture to cafés, Impact Diffusion claims to be the first independent company to offer space to third parties. The tables are provided to cafés at no charge.

Tabletop space is sold in 14-day slots; advertisers can rent as few as 10 tables or, for $125,000, the entire network. It’s much less expensive than most print and TV campaigns and proves especially attractive to Internet start-ups looking to create low-cost buzz.

To make the tabletops more dynamic, the company devised and patented a 3-in. gap between a wood base and its glass cover. Held together by a metal ring, this essentially hollow table provides depth for three-dimensional displays.

– by Mark E. Dixon

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications