Bathroom stalls generate biz

Thursday, March 31, 2005

ROCHESTER, N.H. -- Talk about a captive audience for your marketing efforts.
In addition to TV and print advertising, Lakeside Mobility & Scooter now displays its services and products on a poster-size billboard attached to the inside of handicapped restroom stalls.
"They can't go anyplace for one, two or three minutes so we figured it was the perfect place for us to advertise," said Bernie Hamann, who owns Lakeside Mobility. "We've been in stores and shopping malls and people have come up and said, 'I've seen (your billboard). So it gets noticed."
Currently, Billboardz Indoor Advertising Media in Portland, Maine, installs Lakeside's billboards in four restrooms in the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. The two women's rooms contain two handicap stalls each. The two men's room contain one handicap stall each. Each of the six stalls features a Lakeside billboard on the back of the stall door.
"This type of advertising is one of the few places for an advertiser to put their message in front of someone without the distraction of everyday life," said Billboardz owner Jeff Trent.
People typically view the restroom billboards, which can also be installed above men's urinals, for 30 seconds to two minutes, Trent said.
Trent chose the Civic Center for Lakeside's adds because it draws people of various ages, including those who need or currently use mobility equipment. Other companies may do better advertising in bar and night club restrooms. Since restaurant patrons visit the restroom infrequently, Trent steers clients away from advertising there.
"This is a classic example of guerilla marketing, and I love it," said marketing consultant Jack Evans, who owns Global Media Marketing in Malibu, Calif. "It's all about finding prospective customers where your competition hasn't gone. When you are the only one there, like in a restroom, you get all the business."
And at only $300 a month for all six billboards, the strategy is inexpensive and gives better exposure than the Yellow Pages, Evans said.