Has anyone ever tried placemat advertising before

by 48 comments
I was just curious to know if anyone has ever tried placemat advertising before. I don't see any threads from this forum that deals with placemat advertising. It has gotten my interest recently when i saw the potential profit you could make. This one company had there placemat ad rates, and i calculated there ad price by all restaurants they are. It turns out they are making over 200k a year just on placemat advertising. But it seems like it is a lot of hassle to get that far. They have like 18 restaurants, which seems hard to acquire. But has anyone ever had any success doing this, i am thinking about doing this.
#offline marketing #advertising #placemat #resturant
  • Profile picture of the author Aussieguy
    I did it as a young entrepreneur (I was about 20). It was a good effort for back then and I look back with fondness. It got me out there and walking into small businesses (retail) and talking with owners. I'm sure some of them advertised just to give the young guy a go, lol

    I'd absolutely never bother with it now, but it was a good experience at the time. I did 2 projects one each in 2 different cities.
  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMagnetMagnate
    That sounds like a MidasMan09 question...eh, Don? -
    • Profile picture of the author David Miller
      Just for the helluvit our firm did some placemat advertising. Completely worthless as a venue. From an advertising sales POV, it can only be sold as a branding mechanism, it does not function as a call to action.

      The problem resides in the fact that although you can say that to many advertisers, and they will nod their head in agreement about the importance of branding, when it's time to renew, they will tell you they didn't get a response. Making a living from advertising is all about renewals and residuals. Placemats are one time shot for the majority of advertisers.
  • Profile picture of the author oda
    If a Placement isn't the best place for a QRcode then I'll eat a placemat.

    Go to any restaurant, people are staring into the distance, looking around.
    Put a few QRcodes in front of them and they will start zapping away like crazy.

    The restaurant owner should like the idea as the 15 minutes they spend zapping qr codes will make the waiting for food time pass faster.

    Why not make a random facebook app, qr code link to it and the diners may have a chance to win the meal free or 10% off or a free coke etc.


    Oda
    • Profile picture of the author hademade
      Originally Posted by oda View Post

      If a Placement isn't the best place for a QRcode then I'll eat a placemat.

      Go to any restaurant, people are staring into the distance, looking around.
      Put a few QRcodes in front of them and they will start zapping away like crazy.

      The restaurant owner should like the idea as the 15 minutes they spend zapping qr codes will make the waiting for food time pass faster.

      Why not make a random facebook app, qr code link to it and the diners may have a chance to win the meal free or 10% off or a free coke etc.


      Oda
      That sounds like a good idea, but i don't know anything about qr codes. I will have to learn more about qr codes first.
  • Profile picture of the author Tousen
    I did placemat advertising before 2 years and it worked great.
    • Profile picture of the author David Miller
      I wasn't attempting to dissuade...with QR codes it might very well make a big difference. I was only sharing my experience with it as a buyer and advertiser.
  • Profile picture of the author infomaniacs
    I remember seeing something like this on ebay awhile ago, someone selling an info product on how to do this kind of business
  • Profile picture of the author Aussieguy
    I've actually done it (well okay, only twice), years ago. Made good money at the time.

    What are you looking for? Some pocket money? Sure, go ahead. A full time business? No. Unless maybe you're setting up a "Novelty Advertising" business and this will be one of many "fun and different" places you'll be advertising the businesses. In which case - maybe. You might find a real business in that from businesses who see the value in having their name in different types of places.

    Why not? Well, here's the thing. I don't know what it's like where you live, but even all those years ago (after it was out there in various cafes) I saw the writing on the wall - I could see that it just didn't look awesome for the cafe hosting the placemats. Incidentally, I found cafes to be the ones to take them on board.
    Again, I don't know where you are, but I'd find it very difficult to keep a straight face and go into a cafe suggesting that you'll give them free placemats with ads on them. Most cafes wouldn't have any placemats on them, because they're not a modern look. Could be different where you are.

    Maybe where you are you've got lots of eating places that go through lots of disposable placemats (like the paper placemats in McDonald's trays). If that's a common thing where you are, I'd suggest at least going that way. I was doing the laminated thing way back when....argh! lol I'm sure I had a few David Miller's advertising - business people that just wanted to give me a go.

    The free disposables may well work (esp. with modern twists of QR and the like) - after all, businesses advertise on the back of shopping dockets here!

    Keep thinking of different ideas and see how you go!
    • Profile picture of the author hademade
      Originally Posted by Aussieguy View Post

      I've actually done it (well okay, only twice), years ago. Made good money at the time.

      What are you looking for? Some pocket money? Sure, go ahead. A full time business? No. Unless maybe you're setting up a "Novelty Advertising" business and this will be one of many "fun and different" places you'll be advertising the businesses. In which case - maybe. You might find a real business in that from businesses who see the value in having their name in different types of places.

      Why not? Well, here's the thing. I don't know what it's like where you live, but even all those years ago (after it was out there in various cafes) I saw the writing on the wall - I could see that it just didn't look awesome for the cafe hosting the placemats. Incidentally, I found cafes to be the ones to take them on board.
      Again, I don't know where you are, but I'd find it very difficult to keep a straight face and go into a cafe suggesting that you'll give them free placemats with ads on them. Most cafes wouldn't have any placemats on them, because they're not a modern look. Could be different where you are.

      Maybe where you are you've got lots of eating places that go through lots of disposable placemats (like the paper placemats in McDonald's trays). If that's a common thing where you are, I'd suggest at least going that way. I was doing the laminated thing way back when....argh! lol I'm sure I had a few David Miller's advertising - business people that just wanted to give me a go.

      The free disposables may well work (esp. with modern twists of QR and the like) - after all, businesses advertise on the back of shopping dockets here!

      Keep thinking of different ideas and see how you go!
      So you think disposable placemats will be better, so you are thinking more of tray liner advertisements. But the thing is with this idea i would have to go to large corporations such as mcdonalds, burger king, etc instead of the smaller restaurants.
  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    When I am pitching my giant postcard program, I get owners catching a flash of it sometimes and they always think it's a placemat, which doesn't usually go over to well until they realize what it really is.

    Anyways, I walk into a coin/antique dealer who I had been trying to pitch but was never open when I went before, and he saw it and got all excited.

    He thought it was a placemat and told me if he wasn't travelling around the country going to shows, he'd do it in a heartbeat. He said that he had done tons of placemat advertising and was always amazed at how much business he would get from them.

    He went on and on about how great placemat advertising is and told me that if I ever wanted to use him as a reference he would tell any business owner about his great results with it.

    I finally got the chance to tell him that my sample was a postcard sent in the mail, and he loved it obviously but he just kept right on gloating about how great placemat advertising was for him.


    I really never expected to hear that out of anyone.
    • Profile picture of the author mikeyman120
      Originally Posted by MoneyMagnetMagnate View Post

      That sounds like a MidasMan09 question...eh, Don? -
      Yes, and I think he would say to go into the business(diners, restaurants) and offer them free placemats. If they accept sell 12-15 ads per side of the placemat @ $500 an ad and let them know they will get at least a years exposure. So 30 ads times $500=$15,000.

      Get the placemats printed, not sure how many to give them, but even if its $1000 you make $14,000.

      Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

      I really never expected to hear that out of anyone.
      I went into staples to get my postcard(from your thread) samples printed and laminated. When I went in to pick them up the lady asked if I was in the placemat business. With the lamination they do look like placemats.
    • Profile picture of the author hademade
      Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

      When I am pitching my giant postcard program, I get owners catching a flash of it sometimes and they always think it's a placemat, which doesn't usually go over to well until they realize what it really is.

      Anyways, I walk into a coin/antique dealer who I had been trying to pitch but was never open when I went before, and he saw it and got all excited.

      He thought it was a placemat and told me if he wasn't travelling around the country going to shows, he'd do it in a heartbeat. He said that he had done tons of placemat advertising and was always amazed at how much business he would get from them.

      He went on and on about how great placemat advertising is and told me that if I ever wanted to use him as a reference he would tell any business owner about his great results with it.

      I finally got the chance to tell him that my sample was a postcard sent in the mail, and he loved it obviously but he just kept right on gloating about how great placemat advertising was for him.


      I really never expected to hear that out of anyone.
      I never heard about placemat advertising working good for anyone, but i guess it depends on the location and business. But i would need to test this to see how well it does, i think it could work in my location if i target the right businesses. I am also trying out your postcard method, i am still working on the mock-up for that. I think i should just stick with one method first instead of trying to do more than one thing at one time.
    • Profile picture of the author wywsave
      are you still doing the post cards
  • Profile picture of the author smartdept
    Yes, QR Codes on a placemat is brilliant!
  • Profile picture of the author MartinBuckley
    hademade and Everyone else,

    Yes, I have and I make good money with it to and I also make money selling ads on menus, you can get my FREE report "How To Make $2,200 Giving Away Free Ad Menus" on my website at: Niche Biz Ideas

    To your success,

    Martin
  • Profile picture of the author terip
    I've went to some restaurants that have these placemats before and majority of the companies advertising their products and/or services does seem to not return after their contract ends. The advertisements keep on changing whenever I revisit the restaurant. So I guess it doesn't work out for them.
  • Profile picture of the author Ramzy
    Sounds like what menu dynamics does for the cheesecake factory menus.
    • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
      Someone was making a fortune off those menu dynamics flip cards on tables. I was a supplier for a restaurant chain and they basically force you to pay for the flip menu card things. And it was a freakin fortune. I think my one menu postcard was over $5k for 20 restaurants and they had 8 cards in the flip roll.

      Originally Posted by Ramzy View Post

      Sounds like what menu dynamics does for the cheesecake factory menus.
  • Profile picture of the author godinu
    Think about the many variations of this business and you are onto a huge sustainable venture. If you do go with placemats, make them be coupons, QR codes, something like that, so that the advertisers can see the return on their investments. Then you will get repeats. My sig wso is about some variants of this idea.. not placemats. But there are so many related fields. Once you have the gameplan down (selling the ad space, giving away whatever), then you have a full-time business that can rake in the dough.
    • Profile picture of the author hademade
      Originally Posted by godinu View Post

      Think about the many variations of this business and you are onto a huge sustainable venture. If you do go with placemats, make them be coupons, QR codes, something like that, so that the advertisers can see the return on their investments. Then you will get repeats. My sig wso is about some variants of this idea.. not placemats. But there are so many related fields. Once you have the gameplan down (selling the ad space, giving away whatever), then you have a full-time business that can rake in the dough.
      The coupons and qr codes does seem like the one way for advertisers to see an return on investments. I just have to research this idea more thoroughly.
  • Profile picture of the author PaSteel
    I have been using Placemat Advertising for my brick and mortar business for over a year now. For the price I pay to be seen it is completely worth it. It has helped brand my practice as well as get the word out that my office is open. I was the first business to use a QR code on my Ad and its fun to see other businesses copying it now.
    The ad space that I purchased runs me about $365 for i think 20,000 mats. The ad guy I buy from has his printer print up the paper throw aways and has a few locations at high traffic lunch spots. It began as a side business and never really grew to a true income but from his placemat customers he was able to create a small town paper that really only offers a few sodoku puzzles and some boring information. Advertisers pay about $400 per quarter to be on it and he has a low attrition rate. This paper grew rapidly and is now in 4 towns and earning him more than he ever made before. If you guys want me to find out more about it I can ask him more information.
    • Profile picture of the author hademade
      Originally Posted by PaSteel View Post

      I have been using Placemat Advertising for my brick and mortar business for over a year now. For the price I pay to be seen it is completely worth it. It has helped brand my practice as well as get the word out that my office is open. I was the first business to use a QR code on my Ad and its fun to see other businesses copying it now.
      The ad space that I purchased runs me about $365 for i think 20,000 mats. The ad guy I buy from has his printer print up the paper throw aways and has a few locations at high traffic lunch spots. It began as a side business and never really grew to a true income but from his placemat customers he was able to create a small town paper that really only offers a few sodoku puzzles and some boring information. Advertisers pay about $400 per quarter to be on it and he has a low attrition rate. This paper grew rapidly and is now in 4 towns and earning him more than he ever made before. If you guys want me to find out more about it I can ask him more information.
      This business has the potential to grow, he went from one to four towns. He seems like he is doing well in his business. But do you really believe he would share advice about the placemat advertising business.
  • Profile picture of the author nelram
    I think the QR code thing is a cool idea! Just imagine going to a Diner to get a bite to eat and having them put a menu in front of you that has nothing but QR codes on it? I think a lot of people would have fun sitting there with their phones checking them all out. You could even do a section on there for kids that links to a game or something.
  • Profile picture of the author liquide43
    You have to do a deep searching befor you start, and keep trying it.
  • Profile picture of the author Justin T Wells
    The QR codes could definitely make this work. One thing you could do is say there's a high value coupon somewhere and they have to find it. You could also separately print up a limited-run batch of place mats that have a freebie of some sort, like a free dessert at that restaurant, or a free oil change down the street or whatever, and randomly insert the "winning" place mats. I don't know if there'd be any legal issues there, just some thoughts.

    Something else you can do is to sell enough spots to make it worthwhile to you, but keep enough open for you to test a variety of your own offers and see if you find any big winners.

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