Advertising Strategy

Why don’t brands advertise in the launderette?


It’s not very often that I visit a launderette. I mean, why would I? I’ve got a washing machine at home.

However, with oversized blankets that really won’t fit into the unit under my kitchen counter, here I am at half six on a Tuesday night watching the machine go around.

Which is when it struck me – why don’t brands advertise in the launderette?

Think about it for a moment. Visit a train station, taxi rank or bus shelter and you’re bombarded by ads (I know because I’ve placed media in these locations).

These spots are popular for several reasons:

1) High footfall. Transport services are used by a great majority of the population at one time or another so you’re pretty much guaranteed eyeballs.
2) Waiting spaces. What do you do when waiting for a train? Read a newspaper, make a phone call or sit on the platform and look dejected as yet again the train’s late (especially if you live in the south of England and have the misfortune to catch the same service as Michael Taggart. Check his tweet stream if you don’t believe me. The man’s a death knell for rail punctuality).

OK so the launderette might not have the highest footfall in the world, but there are enough of them about and making money to lead me to assume that people use them. My local ones are pretty full at the weekend.

And there’s not a lot to do other that wait and watch the machine spin. Read a book, get a newspaper or just sit there. Same as the train station or bus stop then.

This suggests to me that launderettes could be prime advertising real estates.

Bored people with nothing better to do that look at your advertising.

In fact, the service could be quite targeted. I don’t know the demographics of launderette users, but I suspect that they aren’t the high ABC1s on the whole. Could be an interesting piece of research there to narrow the demographic target and produce some really great work.

What would be even better would for an advertiser to embed online tech within the ad. QR codes, for example, which lead to stupidly addictive online games. An Angry Birds for the laundry, if you will.

Or to send the user to sites where they can download useful apps and other information about the brand.

Give bored people something to do.

In fact, the work doesn’t even need to be that sophisticated. Most coin-op laundries have coin change machines. What if one of these was sponsored by a bank (HSBC as the world’s local bank) or even a company like Tesco (every little helps)?

The washing powder machine could be sponsored by Persil or Tide. The washing machines could be branded too – either by a manufacturer or by some other service. Thinking a bit further out of the box, what if the machines were sponsored by something else round? Tyre manufacturers. Pizza restaurants. Or Polo – the mint with a hole.

If you wanted to be really daring, you could get a corrective eye surgery specialist to sponsor them (think about it…).

The drying machines could be sponsored by a holiday company. “What to be as warm as your blanket this winter? Visit Egypt” (OK so that’s not a great line, but you know what I mean).

The possibilities are almost endless. Prime waiting space real estate is there for the taking.

Another thought on the subject is the location of the launderette – normally in a small parade of shops which often have restaurants/take-aways embedded as a local community service. So why aren’t these companies promoting themselves in the launderette? Have your Fish’n’Chips while you wash. Chicken Korma and a full service wash. A pizza in the time it takes your smalls to dry. You get the idea.

So my question is – which brand will be first out of the box and engage with their communities in this untapped space?

Because, quite frankly, I want something to do while the blankets go round. And round. And round.

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