Larry the Ad Man's Blog

I hope you learn from my small business marketing and advertising tips.

"Advertising is to trade what Steam is to machinery" Thomas Cook.
It was an honor to be nominated for 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

If your business is "outside the box" market outside the box.

I've been listening to the CBC radio program "Age of Persuasion" of late. Quite enjoying it from a historic sense as well as a marketing case study lesson. I highly recommend it ( ). Thanks to my friend Patrick for recommending it to me. In the most recent episode, Terry O Reilly discusses Marketing Pioneers who created products that created industries. This history lesson on creativity sparked my own creative juices and thoughts of a product I just HAD TO sell. Yes, this will be a bit of self promotion, but I think it will have some impact on how you think about marketing. I discovered this product on a vacation in Ontario. I got up from my restaurant table and headed for the washroom, expecting a typical toilet, sink and urinal of no particular note. I did get what I expected until I stepped up to the urinal and started laughing aloud. There below my "waist" was a green scented urinal screen complete with a soccer net for me to aim at.
I thought, man, my son and his cousins sitting at the table are gonna love this. I noted the logo and thought I just have to sell these. What a great and creative idea. I got back to the table and looked at the 3 boys aged 9-12 and said "You have to go to the washroom" in my most enthusiastic soccer coach voice. The 9 and 10 year old immediately got up and headed for the washroom door, the 12 year old was being "too cool" and stayed at the table. The 2 boys came back and I asked "Did you score?" "YES" they both replied. The 12 year old just had to get up and see what this was all about. This experience enhanced my feeling of the restaurant and I can't even remember what I ate, but I will go back when we are in the area again visiting relatives.

After finding the website, and discovering they had Hockey and football versions, I contacted the company and spoke with CEO Pablo Salzman about me selling these for him in Alberta. A CEO and 43 year old salesperson speaking business and gigling like the 10 year old when we spoke about the product. Sure we talked serious business, but what a fun discussion. He shared a story on how the Premier of Alberta spoke of the product in an address he made at the Grey Cup in Edmonton in 2010. We all become 10 year old boys when we use it. I just had breakfast a a pub which has the product and enjoyed it almost as much as I did the first time.

Now you're probably wondering where the marketing comes in if I don't own a pub or restaurant? These can be customised to fit your logo. Now some companies may not wish to be peed on, which is completely understandable, but what a creative outside the box thinking young growing company can do with this is mind boggling. A small microbrewery or would be a logical candidate.

Lets also recognize the importance of a washroom for a pub/restaurant owner or sporting venue. A quick discussion with Blind Monk Pub boss Spyder Mitchell about his urinals will have you thinking differently about the importance of this room to the overall experience. Spyders passion for his restroom experiece had him adding a head rest above the urinal in his pubs and telling me that he feels that the ladies have been getting the nice washrooms for years, but men's rooms are basic, pee, wash and leave. He is changing that with his pubs and is ready to tell the world. I will be right on his side here in Alberta to change the men's rooms, then the world!

The old saying "Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door" is essentially saying, think outside the box and you will be successful. Selling the same mouse trap as everyone else will make you some money, the better trap will achieve you great success. Until next week, I'm Larry "The Ad Man".

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