Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Is this a crappy idea or what?

If you think it might be worth your while to advertise in the bathrooms at University Towers Apartment Building (Ann Arbor), Dance Theatre Studio (ditto),Bel-Mark Lanes Bowling Alley (and ditto), and Port Chester-Rye Brook District Library (that would be New York, not Ann Arbor), the Brothers Silverman – Bryan and Jordan – have an interesting propositions for you.

They’ll print you ad – or a coupon code that a prospect can read with his smartphone – on rolls of toilet paper and place them for free in willing venues. Venues like University Towers, Dance Theatre Studio, Bel-Mark Bowling, and the Port Chester-Rye Brook Library.

And you thought that there was one place you could get away from advertising – other than advertising of the ‘for a good time, call Gigi’ sort.

Seriously, I don’t mind the ads that you increasingly see in ladies rooms (and presumably in men’s rooms) that are on the wall. Or even on the inside of the stall door.

But on toilet paper?

Come now.

Is there anyone on the face of the earth that wants to increase the time they spend in stall in a public facility by even the nano-second required to read ad copy on a TP – let alone scan a coupon for free pizza delivery into their iPhone. Seriously, between trying to hold the broken door closed and balance yourself over a pee-splattered seat, who has a free hand to hold and operate their phone to begin with.  Ewww.

Hey, I don’t even like to use colored TP, let alone something that’s been printed on. (And I don’t care if the ink is “soybean-based” and “privately tested” to make sure that it’s “safe for all users.”)

But the Silverman boys, who are no dummies – one’s just graduated from the University of Michigan, the other’s at Duke – think they’re on to something. As does Entrepreneur Magazine, which has named them one of the finalists in the College Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for 2012. (Of course, maybe Entrepreneur just figured that having them on the list was going to garner them more coverage than the guys who’ve come up with ideas for a better suture or sustainable energy.)

Not that the toilet paper doesn’t have the requisite green angle:

Did you know that over 15% of deforestation is
for toilet paper production? That is why all of the
toilet paper we use is made from 100% recycled
materials. By carrying our product you not only
save money, but also go green and help make a
difference. (Source: Star Toilet Paper.)

You save money as a venue by getting free toilet paper, by the way. The advertisers pick up the cost.

If you are a bar, apartment building, theatre, stadium, office, or any place with a public bathroom visit the Carry Our Products tab to learn more about how you can save thousands of dollars with our FREE toilet paper.

Admittedly, I can see advertisers doing this once as a novelty act, but after the initial “thrill” is gone…

I’m especially wigged out to see that restaurants are using it to advertise.

Seems to me that if someone’s taking an emergency dump – and, let’s face it, no one takes a planned dump in a public place – they’re not going to want to read about a two-fer for fish tacos. This does remind me of a story my husband tells. Years ago, he was in a men’s room and a father was waiting for his two little boys to finish up their business in the stalls. The kids were both happily chirping away about what they were going to have when dad took them to McDonald’s. Most of us, however, are not thinking or talking food when we’re in the process of elimination, are we?

But Ann Arbor’s Northside Grill is willing to give it a whirl:

"It's just getting rolling," said Jim Koli, Northside's owner. He took a chance on the new concept because "it was unique and at a certain level it was absurd enough that it would be interesting to do." (USA Today)

Perhaps it’s just me, but I find this even more disturbing than the signs that warn restaurant employees to wash their hands before returning to duty.

And perhaps it’s just minority me who thinks this is a crappy idea. According to Start TP’s “research”:

  • 75% of people said they would read advertisements and coupons on toilet paper and over 98% of people reacted positively to seeing advertising in the bathroom.
  • People are more likely to buy from a company they see advertise on our Printed Toilet Paper.

I have to admit that I am one of the 75% of people who would read an ad. But I am also in the 2% who would not react positively. Then again, I’ve always been something of an odd-ball.

Of course, in our advertising-must-and-should-be-everywhere world, this is just the sort of ghastly idea that might catch on. Bad enough that our public buildings and highways have to be brought to us by someone. Now it’s our public restrooms.

And what next?

Maybe some one will figure out how to put advertising on the moon. (Full moon = full page ad; extra for harvest, less for waning. Blue moon thrown in if you sign up for 12 months.)

Surely, houses of worship are missing out on a revenue producing opportunity if they can’t figure out sponsorship opportunities: ads stamped on communion wafers, this Torah brought to you by.

How about helping bail out ailing school districts by printing ads on report cards? (Want to do something about those D’s? Call Kaplan today.)

There’s just no getting away from commercialization these days.

And I thought it was weird the first time I went to England and used toilet paper (was it in the British Museum) that had HRM crown and imprimatur stamped on it.


Original story source:

No comments: