Innovation That Matters

Free love at the food court

Food & Drink

A new marketing venture in Australia promises to capture the attention of consumers—and hold onto it for more than 15 minutes—when they’re out and about and in the mood to shop. NapkinAd features advertising promotions printed on napkins and napkin dispensers in high-traffic shopping mall food courts, where there’s a constant flow of traffic during business hours, with consumers stopping to chat, rest, grab a cup of coffee or bite to eat—and may even shove a few free napkins in their pockets before heading off to their next destinations. Similar to tissue pack advertising in Japan, the idea is to get an advertisement directly into consumers’ hands—and for longer than one might look at a leaflet before tossing it into the nearest trash can. Like other free love ventures, it works because it offers customers something useful and relevant at no charge—not only do most people not mind the ads, but many feel a fleeting sense of gratitude towards whoever offered them the freebie. Obviously, anyone can print ads on napkins, and many (food) brands already do. What sets NapkinAd apart, is the network of shopping centres they partner with, and their integrated approach: printing, displays and distribution. NapkinAd offers a variety of advertising packages, starting at just AUD 85 per week. Based on budgets and branding needs, clients can select from a number of eye-catching options. Counter-top units dispense napkins at food counters and can reach more than 1,000 people each day per counter for more than 18 minutes (while standing in line and while consuming their purchase) for under AUD 10. Even more eye-catching are display stands, which feature either printed images or LCD screens that run video commercials. NapkinAd will be launching in the UK soon. Time to bring the concept to other regions, too? (Related: Free snail mail, Free photocopies for students and Free phone calls for teenagers.) Spotted by: Bill McMahon



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