It is all about grabbing attention when it comes to marketing and who would not want “ALONE TIME” with the consumer. Marketer would feel elated if he could convey his ads/promotional campaigns when the consumer can’t drive past or change the channel.
The evolution is interesting to study –
Companies tried getting their ads outdoors – so it was banners/hoardings in addition to ads on TV, radio & print media
Then it was essential to create curiosity in every ambience – so the concept of ambient marketing took over – be it the dumb bell shaped holder in a bus(ad for a fitness company) or a broken floor with a buried microphone (ad for BBC) – all these attempts did catch the attention of many consumers.
Next they tried catching hold of every product right from eggs to sick bags in airplanes. People sold their foreheads and other body parts (!!!) as ad space and there were many takers in the marketing sector.
But there were places that were left untouched… How could the people in the advertising sector and the marketing circle not think about this marvellous ad space for so long? What a sin?
Just imagine a closed place where people are always left alone – it is always DND, no mobiles/pagers – in fact they love privacy – no friends and acquaintances – this rule was common to everyone –NO EXCLUSIONS whatsoever.
EUREKA – so came in the concept of ADVERTISEMENTS IN WASHROOMS – the concept I like being termed “loo advertising”. Malls, pubs, bars & cine complexes are the HUBS – they host ads in their Washrooms. The space sells like hot cakes. There are agencies that specialise in these kind of ads – Admedia is claimed to be the biggest player in UK and owns about 25,000 washroom panels. There are loos which are designed like ski resorts, urinals are designed such that they resemble a football ground or a golf course – ads for Sports channels.
- Undisputed consumer time – no clutter in customer mind space
- No chance to switch or avoid
- High brand recall seen
- Most of the ads seem to be engaging – captive; e.g. Marico came up with hair strips in the loos which could be plaited/braided. This was for their product which was a hair detangler
- Highly gender specific – no cross usage ever seen àhence, no reluctance seen in condom, sanitary napkin ads in the loos
- Several ads have tear away business cards, discount coupons which encourage footfall
- Increases brand visibility
The disadvantage of this concept is that it might put off a few people – “please let us have some peace at least here” – this might add to a negative image for the brand.
So care must be exercised. Brands which have an oomph factor, elements of naughtiness/sexiness – positioned as humorous, hep, sexy could go in for this strategy. Their image that has been established would be enhanced. A good example would be that of Axe brands and ads. However, when a soft brand wants to exploit this space, it needs to design its ads in such a way that breaks away from this FUNKY factor & still communicates its mild tone conquering attention without angering the consumers. One of the finest example would be that of this social campaign for drunken driving.
So next time you visit a LOO look out for ads and brands – Be a wary consumer… 😛
– Saradha G, feel free to write back at email@example.com