Has anyone ever tried placemat advertising before

by hademade 48 replies
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
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  • 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.
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  • That sounds like a MidasMan09 question...eh, Don? -
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    • 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.
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      • Profile picture of the author hademade
        Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

        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.
        So most companies don't renew after there contract, and this is more for branding. I might not do placemat advertising then, i was just wandering if it was good to get into.
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  • 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
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    • 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.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tousen
    I did placemat advertising before 2 years and it worked great.
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    • 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.
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      • Profile picture of the author hademade
        Originally Posted by Tousen View Post

        I did placemat advertising before 2 years and it worked great.
        Thats good, did the advertisers review there contract when you did placemat advertisers.

        Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

        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.
        Well if the companies aren't renewing there contract, i just saw it as a waste of time. You would have to find around 14-16 new companies each time. The qr codes does sound a lot better to me, but i will need to learn qr codes first. I have never made or don't know how to use qr codes.
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        • Profile picture of the author David Miller
          You're going to have to hammer them on branding branding branding.
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          • Profile picture of the author SBCopywritingGuy
            Interesting.

            I think if done correctly, it could possibly be effective. First, I was thinking it wouldn't work because most people are more concerned with EATING on their placemats than reading them.

            However...

            If you take most restaurants, people wait an average of 10-15 minutes before the server brings their food. I'd make sure the offer on the placemat was something that would drive the prospect to action immediately before their food arrived.

            An offer such as:

            "Want to save an additional 15% on your meal? Simply scan this code and upon checkout, show your screen to the cashier...INSTANT SAVINGS."

            If it were me, I'd test different offers on the placemat and go from there.

            Good luck with it if you do decide to test.
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          • Profile picture of the author hademade
            Originally Posted by SBCopywritingGuy View Post

            Interesting.

            I think if done correctly, it could possibly be effective. First, I was thinking it wouldn't work because most people are more concerned with EATING on their placemats than reading them.

            However...

            If you take most restaurants, people wait an average of 10-15 minutes before the server brings their food. I'd make sure the offer on the placemat was something that would drive the prospect to action immediately before their food arrived.

            An offer such as:

            "Want to save an additional 15% on your meal? Simply scan this code and upon checkout, show your screen to the cashier...INSTANT SAVINGS."

            If it were me, I'd test different offers on the placemat and go from there.

            Good luck with it if you do decide to test.
            Thanks for the advice, it seems like this will work well if you focus on putting a scan code on the placemat. I don't think most people will remember the deals on the placemats

            Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

            You're going to have to hammer them on branding branding branding.
            I understand now, but i don't know if the small businesses would be interested in this.
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  • 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
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  • 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!
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    • 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.
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  • 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.
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    • 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.
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      • Profile picture of the author bob ross
        Originally Posted by mikeyman120 View Post

        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.



        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.
        Makes me wonder how many people in my community are using them as placemats in their home!

        "Hilda, get that goddayum coffee off the table and use this here free placemat. Just clip out the coupon for the free dog wash for rover first.
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    • 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.
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    • Profile picture of the author wywsave
      are you still doing the post cards
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  • Profile picture of the author smartdept
    Yes, QR Codes on a placemat is brilliant!
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  • 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
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  • 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.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ramzy
    Sounds like what menu dynamics does for the cheesecake factory menus.
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    • 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.
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      • Profile picture of the author midasman09
        Banned
        a lot of people don't have phones that can scan

        "Most" phones can, I think, bring up a Mobile Website....by Typing in the url of the Mobile Site!

        www.portland.mobitowndirectory.com where the name of the town (Portland) is a "sub" domain.

        Don Alm
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  • 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.
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    • 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.
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  • 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.
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    • 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.
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      • Profile picture of the author PaSteel
        Originally Posted by hademade View Post

        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.
        Yeah definitely. He's an older guy who is really proud of what he has accomplished. I know he's looking to expand in NJ so if someone is local I could put them in touch with him but honestly if you guys had any specific questions I can ask him I would.
        He doesnt own a computer and I finally got him to upgrade his flip phone to a smart phone so I doubt he would join the forum but I can ask that as well.
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        • Profile picture of the author hademade
          Originally Posted by PaSteel View Post

          Yeah definitely. He's an older guy who is really proud of what he has accomplished. I know he's looking to expand in NJ so if someone is local I could put them in touch with him but honestly if you guys had any specific questions I can ask him I would.
          He doesnt own a computer and I finally got him to upgrade his flip phone to a smart phone so I doubt he would join the forum but I can ask that as well.
          Well since he doesn't own a computer, i am assuming he doesn't use qr codes on his placemat. I have a few questions that i would like to ask him. My first question is does he get the advertisers to renew there contract after the agreement is up. Secondly, how much advertisers does he recommend per placemat. Lastly, does the placemat advertising have a good return on investment.

          I almost forgot to ask this, would he be interested in saying how long his advertisements last. I know some places may be 3 months or 6 months, but i think it depends on the place.
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          • Profile picture of the author David Miller
            @pasteel - I just noticed your post and what you pay! The one and only time my firm did placemats it was 100,000 and we paid $495....I'd call your rep and tell him or her the party is over!

            My overall thought on placemat advertising, it's a prospecting tool. Take a clean placemat back to the office with you and start calling!
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            • Profile picture of the author bob ross
              Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

              @pasteel - I just noticed your post and what you pay! The one and only time my firm did placemats it was 100,000 and we paid $495....I'd call your rep and tell him or her the party is over!

              My overall thought on placemat advertising, it's a prospecting tool. Take a clean placemat back to the office with you and start calling!
              Couldn't be said any better!
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            • Profile picture of the author midasman09
              Banned
              Yup....I started my advertising career with "Mats"....in smal towns of 3 to 7,000 pop.

              I could fit 16 ads on an 8 1/2 by 14 sheet. 10,000 went for $195 a space ($3,120 gross on each edition)

              Nowadays....you COULD put a QR Code in the Center and have it go to a "Mobi Directory"...where you'd have EXCLUSIVE Pages. ONE of each type of biz!

              You could list the participants and in big letters say; "SCAN HERE FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNTS AT LOCAL BUSINESSES!"

              You can also place a "Table Tent" on each table...with the same words; SCAN HERE FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNTS AT LOCAL BUSINESSES!

              Don Alm
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              • Profile picture of the author hademade
                Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

                Yup....I started my advertising career with "Mats"....in smal towns of 3 to 7,000 pop.

                I could fit 16 ads on an 8 1/2 by 14 sheet. 10,000 went for $195 a space ($3,120 gross on each edition)

                Nowadays....you COULD put a QR Code in the Center and have it go to a "Mobi Directory"...where you'd have EXCLUSIVE Pages. ONE of each type of biz!

                You could list the participants and in big letters say; "SCAN HERE FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNTS AT LOCAL BUSINESSES!"

                You can also place a "Table Tent" on each table...with the same words; SCAN HERE FOR SPECIAL DISCOUNTS AT LOCAL BUSINESSES!

                Don Alm
                I actually like the idea you said about putting the qr code in the center, and having them going to a mobile directory. But i wander if sms marketing would work here also, because a lot of people don't have phones that can scan. You could have a ad saying text this number for half off on a large pizza.
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            • Profile picture of the author PaSteel
              Originally Posted by David Miller View Post

              @pasteel - I just noticed your post and what you pay! The one and only time my firm did placemats it was 100,000 and we paid $495....I'd call your rep and tell him or her the party is over!

              My overall thought on placemat advertising, it's a prospecting tool. Take a clean placemat back to the office with you and start calling!
              That is a great price you got Dave. My rep is the only honest guy in town and frankly I enjoy doing business with him. Every month he seems to throw in some bonus or I find out he put my ad somewhere where he had extra space for no cost so even though I could probably get a better price on some mats elsewhere I wont switch. His customer service is too good and the restaurant locations he has are too good to leave him.

              As for the placemat prospecting, that is absolutely a great idea. Right now im working on teaming up with him to use his contact list to promote my custom facebook fanpage design and would like to eventually offer them local listing SEO service
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              • Profile picture of the author andrewmckim
                I'm sorry but I doubt David got 100,000 impressions for $500. Maybe 10 years ago, I don't know. What I do know is you'd be lucky to get good quality full-color 14X10 70# placemats for under ($600 per 5000) that's before any mark-up. What he's saying is that he only paid .005 per placemat, I smell B.S. Most companies typically charge about 5 cents a placemat. No way he got a deal 10x better.
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                • Profile picture of the author Lance K
                  I did placemat advertising ONCE as an advertiser. It was a horrible waste of money.

                  More than likely, the only person who makes money on those deals is the person selling the advertising. And based on my experience with it, I'd wager that they are constantly having to chase down new advertisers due to a lackluster renewal rate.

                  Oh who am I kidding...most people don't track their advertising results, so maybe they don't have to work that hard once they get it set up. But I'll never do it again.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Saluki Guy
                    Welcome To Coffee News, USA ! has a biz opp for this. I wouldn't pay for it but you could copy their system.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
                      I would think they are easy to sell. But I've used them a couple of time over the years, and have never tracked a customer back to these "ads".

                      When giving seminars, I've asked the audience how many have used placemat ads, and how many could track an actual customer back to the placemats. Far less than 1% say that they have worked.

                      But that doesn't mean they don't work at all. Maybe they remind a few people that you exist.

                      But a very enterprising salesman sold ads for the restaurant right across the street. And I thought if this wold bring in people from anywhere..it would work right across the street. Nope. We had a run of either 3 months or 10,000 mats (I keep forgetting which)

                      It's the same with advertising on bowling alley score boards, or in the newspaper on the page with 100 business card sized ads.

                      I've never seen a result that can be tracked.

                      Or...the grocery store receipts. Although I know two retailers that say they have worked.

                      The niche would make a huge difference, I would think.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Lance K
                        Claude, did you ever set up any sort of JV or cross promotion with the restaurant across the street?
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            • Profile picture of the author PaSteel
              Originally Posted by hademade View Post

              Well since he doesn't own a computer, i am assuming he doesn't use qr codes on his placemat. I have a few questions that i would like to ask him. My first question is does he get the advertisers to renew there contract after the agreement is up. Secondly, how much advertisers does he recommend per placemat. Lastly, does the placemat advertising have a good return on investment.

              I almost forgot to ask this, would he be interested in saying how long his advertisements last. I know some places may be 3 months or 6 months, but i think it depends on the place.
              He does the length of time based on the amount of runs each restaurant gets out of the mats. So basically its like CPM. He offers 20k or 30k (I will ask since i dont remember) and when the restaurant runs out he's back with his invoice sheet asking if I want to renew another run. If you get a busy restaurant you can hit up the owner often, get a sleepy town breakfast spot and forget it you might be lucky to make a few hundred a year.

              When I wanted to add the QR code I had to email his printer directly who I think is the one responsible for designing the ads.

              I should be seeing him this coming Wednesday so I will ask him those other questions and get back to you. I dont have 50 posts so I cannot yet PM
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              • Profile picture of the author hademade
                Originally Posted by PaSteel View Post

                He does the length of time based on the amount of runs each restaurant gets out of the mats. So basically its like CPM. He offers 20k or 30k (I will ask since i dont remember) and when the restaurant runs out he's back with his invoice sheet asking if I want to renew another run. If you get a busy restaurant you can hit up the owner often, get a sleepy town breakfast spot and forget it you might be lucky to make a few hundred a year.

                When I wanted to add the QR code I had to email his printer directly who I think is the one responsible for designing the ads.

                I should be seeing him this coming Wednesday so I will ask him those other questions and get back to you. I dont have 50 posts so I cannot yet PM
                I will try to talk to the business owners soon, i need to find a nice and busy restaurant in my town that would want this service. So the person who designs the ads can put the qr codes right on the placemats.
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  • 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.
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  • Profile picture of the author liquide43
    You have to do a deep searching befor you start, and keep trying it.
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  • 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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