Advertising In A Simpler Time


Before PCs and the days of internet advertising, an interesting way to advertise was with ads and coupons on place mats in local diners and restaurants. A simple print ad on a placemat was and is still is an effective way of promoting your business. In this article we’ll look at different forms of print marketing. Each form of advertising works well for certain type of business. Hopefully after reading this article you can decide which form of advertising should work best fro you. 
Imagine… You walk into the local diner or your favorite restaurant, passing the array of freshly made pies, cakes and puddings. The friendly hostess greets you at the door and escorts you to the table of your choice. You sit down and glance at the table. Its breakfast and you forgot the morning paper, but not to worry. In front of you lie 16 different mini articles along with a diner ad in the center that offers the breakfast specials. Before the waitress can hand you a menu you decide on two eggs over easy with corned beef hash, coffee and orange juice. It was right in the center of that handy placemat. The waitress comes by with her receipt book in hand and you fire off your order, asking for the skim milk instead of cream, as if that’s going to make up for the corned beef hash, eggs, hash browns and butter on your toast. It doesn’t, but you feel better about the order anyway. 
While you’re waiting for your meal you notice a coupon at the hardware store for 25% off on a a new power tool that you need. Next to it is a coupon for $10 off on your next oil change at the local Puffy Lube. As you browse the place mat you notice a few local businesses that support your local community and you realize that over the years you may have strayed away for convenience or you just forgot about them for a while. Maybe these ads bring you back to a simpler time when life wasn’t so hectic.
Your meal comes. You woof it down and guzzle your second cup of coffee. It occurs to you to rip off the corner ad for the golf balls and the $10.00 off for the oil change. It reminds you that you haven’t changed your oil in 7,000 miles. You ask the waitress for a fresh place mat and you’re on your way.
Now, let’s take a look at why placemat ads work. As a comparison internet advertising serves its purpose. You are getting out to the 18-30 year olds. Generation x and y do their share of buying as long as it’s cheap and fast. Maybe you’re tired of offering cheap and fast service. Did you ever think of marketing to the baby boomers? You don’t reach most of them on the internet. Baby boomers are the comfortable sect. They don’t have to be convinced that they deserve better service or a better product. With the latest economic debacle they’re still in the best shape but they’re learning to use a coupon or two to help them get through the mortgage crisis without too much pain. The baby boomer market has the most dispensable capitol for spending.
Let’s compare place mat advertising to other forms of print advertising. Through you can get out on 100,000 placemats for about $399.00. Over a 6 month period your cost would be about $15.00 per week. This is front page advertising to a captive audience, in a pleasant surrounding for an average of about 20 minutes. Compare that to a daily ad for six months in your local paper. First of all who reads the ads in the local paper on page 72? Most of the time I only read through the whole paper once a week. The cost of daily advertising in the paper is astronomical in comparison to placemat ads. When is the last time you tried to get a front page ad in the local paper? If it was possible you couldn’t afford it. The average local paper wishes they could get out to 100,000 people. 
Don’t even try to compare placemat ads to post cards. The mailing alone makes this medium cost prohibitive. Post cards are cheap enough, but by the time you label them and add postage you’re looking at 60 cents per postcard x 100,000 your cost is $6,000.00 versus $399.00 for postcards. Most people stand over the garbage pail today and through the junk mail into it before paying their bills. Looking at ads while you’re thinking about paying the bills is not conducive to spending money. I would rather market to people while they’re in a dining establishment in a pleasant atmosphere. With Placemat ads I know I’m getting front page advertising each and every time. I can control my marketing to specific areas and specific numbers. I can pick 100,000 placemats in Fairfield for $399.00 and another 100,000 in Perth Amboy. As business picks up I can expand to Staten Island and Brooklyn. The nicest part is each one of these marketing programs lasts six months so I have a slow steady income while I’m planning my next marketing venture.
Today a lot of businesses are cutting back on there telephone book advertising and moving that advertising money towards placemat and even take-out menu advertising, which also does. If you are in an industry where the liar wins and you’re honest, telephone book advertising is a horrible idea. Let me give you an example. Your hot water heater needs repair. Unfortunately when a hot water heater breaks it creates a short term emergency. The average consumer calls the largest ads right down the page. They get 4 or 5 quotes and make a decision. Many times the so called professionals that advertise in the telephone book will lie about the price to get in your home. Let’s say its $100 to get your hot water heater working. They charge a fee for the visit and they make money whether they finish the job or not. I’ve had experiences where I’ve had more than one contractor or technician lie to me and I was stuck holding the bag with nothing fixed as a result. I had to pay a $50.00 fee and the price for fixing the original item was tripled to $375.00, resulting in me throwing the service guy out of my home. Meanwhile the item wasn’t fixed. I payed $50.00 and the reputable company that offered to fix the heater for $200 without a service charge was overlooked. I bring this up because I run across a lot of businesses that don’t want to compete head to head with irreputable competition, because they give a middle of the road quote for good honest hard work. Why would you cheapen yourself to compete with people head to head that are lying about their rates? With Placemat advertising you are the only one in your industry on that placemat. Exclusivity has its advantages. In my opinion telephone book advertising has its disadvantages in this case. 
Instead of telephone book advertising try putting ads on take-out menus. Everybody has take-out menus in their kitchen. We pull them out of the drawer or off of the table a couple of times a week. The take out menus that offers has ads on the perimeter of the menu. Consumers are reminded about your products and services every time they order something. The telephone book only comes out when you’re ready to compare prices. On a take out menu you’re seen often. In the telephone book you’re seen once. The take out menu and the telephone book are both present in your home, but the take out menu gets more mileage and the pages of it get seen more than the inside of the telephone book. The cost of Take-Out menu advertising is similar to place mats, but these ads are great for businesses that want their advertising to be around the home.
When planning a marketing plan on placemats or take-out menus, try to offer a compelling call to action. Don’t try to put everything your business offers on one ad. When it comes to advertising less is more. A simple ad catches the eye. Try to let your ad draw the prospects eye to the call to action. Your call to action should be a promotion or coupon. Everybody loves a good offer. If you don’t feel your business lends itself to discounting offer a special service with the purchase of your product or service. Satisfaction guarantees are also good. Many business owners always target the town they’re in. sometimes you will get better results in another town where there’s less competition or your services are needed more. Experiment with different ad types, and different areas, and then document your results. Keep a log of which ads worked better and what areas worked best. If you’re offering coupons, it’s easy to track results because you know an ad worked every time a consumer brings in a coupon. Keep track of existing customers and new customers. Ask the customers coming in for their contact information. Later you can do a private mailing to them. Doing mailings to repeat customers that respond to offers is smart marketing. Ask your customers that responded to your offers what they liked about the offer and how you could improve it. 
If you’re planning print advertising, you may want to try advertising on placemats. If so, feel free to visit or call us at 973-390-4719. If we can’t do placemats in your area we can suggest a reputable company that does.
Internet advertising also works well if it can bring traffic to your site. Feel free to try or for your Internet advertising. I am a little prejudiced towards these companies because I own them and I have worked very hard to make them effective and affordable for you. Good luck with your marketing and advertising. Feel free to drop me an email at or take a look at all of the marketing we do including websites, Internet marketing place mat and take-out menus, Payment processing, pay per click advertising, on-line directories and more.
By |2017-05-02T16:52:40+00:00January 8th, 2011|Marketing|Comments Off on Advertising In A Simpler Time

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