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The Smelly Truth About Bathroom Advertising

by Ed Attanasio (writer), San Frickin' Frisco, Baby!, April 01, 2008

Credit:

Does restroom advertising really work? Or is it just a bunch of crap?

We see advertising just about everywhere we go. Several years ago, a guy auctioned off advertising space on his forehead. He got an anti-snoring medication company to buy it for $30,000. Last year a woman sold ad space on her cleavage. Hooters purchased the space for $12,000 and a lifetime supply of bad chicken wings. As competition in the marketplace heats up, companies are frantically searching for new places to place their ads.

Marketing experts estimate that the average adult is bombarded by more than 1,500-2,000 ad messages per week. Companies will put their name on anything – pens, hats, sunglasses, towels, even body parts– and the ad specialty industry is operating at an all-time high.

Then, you have all of the “conventional forms of advertising” -- TV, radio (both terrestrial and satellite) print publications, the Internet, movie theaters, billboards, bus boards, ads on shopping carts, on the backs of receipts, on public transit and even in the bathroom. That’s right – most of us have probably seen it – restroom advertising has become commonplace in every city throughout the world.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the bathroom I want peace and quiet. Especially if I haven’t eaten well that day and am experiencing problems in there. Relieving oneself can be an arduous task all by itself, without having to stare at ads about computer software, bicycle repair and Hawaiian vacations.

I called a woman named Aretha Pearles the other day. She runs a company called “Crapitol City Advertising” out of Washington D.C. They’re one of the world leaders in restroom advertising. She explained the why’s, how’s and where’s of this burgeoning form of promotional marketing.

“Bathroom ads are exploding,” Pearles said. “People are more open to messages when they’re doing their business in the john. We’ve found a higher rate of retention happens in there, because it’s a crucial moment for most folks and they’re concentrating more. The messages they get in the bathroom have proven to last longer in the customer’s mind than they normally will in other locations. Whether you’re dropping a growler or simply urinating quickly, you’re going to remember something you saw in the bathroom more than if you saw it on the street, for example.”

Some of Crapitol’s main advertisers are X-Lax (“If they are having movement issues, it’s a good thing to consider for next time.”); Charmin (“It’s softer and won’t chafe those sensitive areas”) and Preparation H (“More than 50 people die each year from severe hemmies--did you know that?”)

Pearles’ company did a study and found that:

· 84% of the people polled remember seeing specific ads in the washrooms

· 92% were able to name specific advertisers without prompting

· 88% recalled at least 4 selling points in the ads surveyed

· 40% of the people polled got so excited about the ads they saw in the washroom that they soiled themselves or encountered spillage

· 8% were upset by the ads they saw and became suddenly constipated.

Pearles sees all kinds of new, exciting opportunities in bathroom advertising. “We’re developing programs right now to run ads in outhouses, on toilet paper, sanitary napkins, disposable/edible underwear, urinal cakes and toilet seat covers. This market is flowing at a tremendous rate, especially in places like Tijuana and New Orleans, where they have all that spicy food and people spend more time in the bathroom.”



About the Writer

Ed Attanasio is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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7 comments on The Smelly Truth About Bathroom Advertising

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By Glenn T on April 02, 2008 at 11:43 am

Great piece, Ed.  I really hope your last two cited statistics are an April Fools' thing.

Also, good to have you in the Deathmatch!

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By iscare on February 18, 2010 at 01:09 pm

Hahaha, i even saw a bathroom ceiling heater with an ad painted on it instead of the glossy aluminum look it has...

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By Julio Steimle on April 12, 2011 at 06:31 am

I find bathroom ads to be very funny. You do tend to think at first: "Oh, boy, they will do anything to get to you with their message, don't they know insistence is disturbing?". But then you read the message and it's always so different from the message that company uses when advertising in other spaces that it makes you smile, maybe even laugh. So I can actually say that there are two things I like about bathrooms: <a rel="follow" href="http://www.maxvanities.com/double-vanities-c49/">double bathroom vanities</a> and funny ads:)

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By Clayton Rocks on April 12, 2011 at 06:55 am

Julio, <a title="double bathroom vanities" href="http://www.maxvanities.com/double-vanities-c49/" target="_self">double bathroom vanities</a> ?:)) They don't go well with modern ads, do they? Bathroom ads are ok with me, I don't find them too annoying. What I don't like however where publicity is concerned is when I phone my mobile conexion provider and I have to listen to their newest offer before I can actually get to the part of the menu that I want to get to. A printed ad leaves you the option of not reading it, but a spoken one such as via-phone-one leaves you not the option of skipping it, you have to listen to the message want it or not if you intend to get to the menu.

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By Thomas D Rees on November 10, 2011 at 09:52 am

I think Ms. Pearles has spent too much time in her places of advertising. You'd think she could have described the business a little differently when she informed you that " Bathroom advertising is exploding".

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By Ed Attanasio on November 10, 2011 at 04:09 pm

Hey Thomas: Did you possibly notice the date of this article? There isn't a Ms. Aretha Pearles (A Wreath of Pearls is also known as a pearl necklace...) I should have used the other fake name (Hemma Rhoidal) and maybe you would have suspected the authenticity of this article. But, thanks for reading!

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By TonyBerkman on November 10, 2011 at 04:49 pm

I'm pleased you capitalized the Hemma Rhoidal, with due respect.

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