I live in a town of about 17,000. There are two vacuum cleaner stores in town. I own one of them. We get along well.
About 25 years ago, my friendly competitor calls me up to tell me that he is going to get the best advertising deal in town, and I missed out on it. So, I asked him to tell me about it;
Him "You promise me you won't try to do it too?"
Him "Well, I got the contract for the last advertiser on the local theater screen before every movie plays. How about that?"
Me "How much?"
Him "$2,000 for the graphics and $1,250 a month. But I'm on every screen for every movie. Guaranteed"
Me; "Tell me, when you go to the movies and see these ads, do you ever write down the contact information on the screen to contact them later?"
Him "Of course not. It's dark in the theater"
Me "And who mostly goes to the movies?"
Him "Teenagers, kids"
Me "Do you ever sell vacuum cleaners to teenagers?"
Me "Are you anywhere near the theater?"
Him "No, You know I'm across town"
Me "Ad when do most people go to the movies?"
Him "Weekends, evenings"
Me "Are you open weekends or evenings?"
Me "Good luck with it. Let me know how it does"
But the reason I'm posting this is that merchants make equally dumb advertising decisions every day. Here is a list of advertising promotions I have done that increased my sales by exactly zero;
1) Advertising in high school yearbooks, local directories, cookbooks (I'm not kidding).
2) Sponsoring the neighborhood softball team. Advertising on the local baseball backdrops.
3) advertising on the cash register receipts at the local grocery stores. (for 6 months. Twice!)
4) advertising on place mats in local restaurants.
5) advertising at the local bowling alley on the score sheets.
Mailing 10,000 flyers that gave a way a free 35 mm camera for a vacuum cleaner demonstration. Our phone lit up for 3 days solid. Every homeless person, every renter, every unemployed person called us....I had to give away about 300 cameras....got two presentations with people that actually had a job...and sold one. I made maybe $200....minus the $8,000 I spent on mailing flyers and delivered free cameras.
Thank God I did most of this when I first opened my retail store....and knew nothing about marketing. I wish I could go back in time and punch myself in the face for every bone headed idea I listened to from an advertising rep. But the cameras? My idea alone. Yippee.