The delicate science of, erm, bathroom advertising

20 Sep

Using a public restroom

I’ve just finished working on a campaign with a heavy dose of bathroom advertising in the media mix.

We have long copy ads and headline-only ads, and have been debating the reading habits of men and women taking a bathroom break, so we know which ads should go where.

There are 4 specific wall mountings: above the urinal, on the inside door of the stall, above the hand-dryers, and beside the mirrors.

The ads offer a teaser message with a URL. Would anyone check a URL in a bathroom?

The girls on the project team insist they don’t whip out their smartphones for fear of dropping them on the nasty floor…or worse.

“Anyway,” I was told, “It’s all over too quickly to pull out the mobile.”

Fair enough if you’re just, erm, taking a quick local call from Mother Nature. But what if the nature of the call is, say, long distance? Would you not have opportunity to carefully take out your mobile and check a URL then?

Evidently not. Long distance calls are something the fairer sex are rarely given to making in public restrooms. Which brings us to men and their often ostentatious use of public facilities for the overseas calls.

(I’m doing my best with the material I have, folks.)

Gents have no hesitation reading a long ad and then punching a URL into our mobiles, because we’re bored, we’re self-conscious and we’re in need of distraction.

So, a headline ad for women and a long copy ad for men.

Not so fast. My Redbird teammates insist women will speed-read an advertisement several times in their 30 seconds and then check out an easy-to-recall URL after they’ve washed their hands.

Perfect. A long copy ad for the girls in the stalls and then hit them up with a short copy ad at the mirror?

Ah. If only women were interested in looking at ads when there was a mirror is in front of them!

The hombres, on the other hand, welcome something other than their mugs to stare at.

So… long copy ad at the men’s mirrors and short copy at the women’s?

Wrong again my blog-reading friend. That logic assumes the men actually wash their hands before they head out!

As you can see, it’s a messy business in the bathrooms. Always has been.

(This is one of the ads. Your click-throughs would skew the analytics, so I’ve removed the URL. Will post when the campaign is wrapped up.)

bathroom advertisement


4 Responses to “The delicate science of, erm, bathroom advertising”

  1. Yukari Peerless September 20, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Men don’t wash their hands before heading out?! Eww. I agree with your conclusion. I won’t take out a phone in the stall, but will always read the ad inside. If it’s memorable enough, I will check it out later.

    • Doug Brown September 20, 2012 at 7:12 am #

      Naturally, I wash my hands Yukari. And I encourage all men to do the same. Women too, and children. But there’s a reason why I use a piece of paper towel when I grip the door handle to exit the washroom….more nastiness then we need to consider at the moment. Thanks for confirming our scientific findings!

  2. maureen September 20, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Ever since IPads hit the market, I’ve thought Apple has missed out on a great advertising slogan: IPad, changing the way you poop.

    A friend of mine even calls some of her tweets ‘twooping’…

    With those images firmly placed in your mind, like a seagull, having unloaded my message I’ll fly off…

    • Doug Brown September 20, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      Moe, anytime I get a comment from you I know it’s going to better than the post! “Twooping”! My big smile of the day. Off you go then little seagull…thanks for dropping in.

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