By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Not everyone can use innovative ideas about digital signs, so let’s just say that sometimes our Friday posts can be on the casual and slightly amusing side of informative.
Our little story begins more than a dozen years ago…
The cardinal rule of a brainstorming session is that there are no bad ideas. So when someone suggested “how about advertising vasectomy procedures with signs at the urinals of men’s restrooms,” well… nobody picked-up on the idea at the time.
Notwithstanding a few raised eyebrows, the idea harbored some positive points. Many restaurants and other public facilities—then and now—strategically post static signs, sports pages, event info, and other reading material at eye level in washrooms.
On the downside, the idea did not scale-up since, at the time, individual printed signs would need to be placed (and subsequently maintained) individually. Reaching a sizable audience would be problematic even on a confined local scale.
Flash forward to the digital age where electronic signs—many with easily changed, programmable, cloud-based content—are appearing in new, if slightly unusual locations.
Ever vigilant as we are for new healthcare and marketing/advertising concepts, we happened to notice DOOH Loos have been installed in the La Finca Tapas restaurant. (That’s on Lake Zurich, by the way, in Rapperswil, Switzerland, in case you want an onsite inspection and a questionable rationale for a business travel write-off).
And if haven’t been to Zurich lately, DOOH Loos are digital electronic signs built into waterless urinals. They’re new in the out-of-home ad sector and can be programmed to demographically target high footfall audiences in gentleman’s washrooms at shopping malls, sports stadia, clubs, bars and (presumably) hospital and medical office buildings.
We have yet to see vasectomy advertising (or any other healthcare messages) in a washroom. Nevertheless strategically placed digital signs are hardworking marketing and advertising tools. In this example, this unique placement niche would reach a (captive) target audience of exclusively men, and present a timely message of interest.
We can’t vouch for the effectiveness (or appropriateness) of ads in the loo. But digital signs are exceptionally useful and effective. Dynamic content is programmable, flexible, and offers a distinctive brand-building point of differentiation. In healthcare applications, digital signs are a unique mechanism for patient and visitor way-finding, spotlighting hospital specialties, promoting individual physicians or medical group practices and many other engaging tasks.
This example of digital signs in the men’s washroom is a reminder that unexpected, unique placement locations have an added attention-getting impact. Keep an open mind to opportunity. There’s no such thing as a bad idea when you’re brainstorming.