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Placemat ads

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Dancinbaer, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I got a call from an advertiser asking if I would be interested in advertising on placemats in a resturant. The resturant is in a rural community like the one I'm in about 10 miles away. No frame shops in that area that I know of. The cost is $179.00 for 10,000 placemats. The ad will be business card size.

    Anyone else ever done this? Could it be worth the cost?

    (I gotta funny feelin' 'bout this post)
    Sponsor Wanted
  2. stshof

    stshof SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I did it one time when I was young and stupid. Now I'm old and stupid but I know enough not to waste my money again. Just one gal's opinion!

  3. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have tried it twice. First time with a restaurant that was close to my shop and should have been the "right clientel." Paid for two runs. Nothing. Near as I can tell a waste of money. They owner of the restaurant had two pieces framed, but I suspect i would have gotten that business anyway.

    THEN, about a year ago the owner of a restaurant about ten miles from here, who had a LOT of framing done by me, asked if I would take a spot on her placemat. I did, because the cost of the ad was less than the profit I had on one of her many frames.

    Much to my surprise, it drove in business! More than paid for itself. BTW, to in order to "check" on it, I had a "Free second mat" offer on the placemat, so they brought the ad ripped out to me. (I didn't actually ask for the ad. All they had to do was mention it.)

    The first was a "near East" restaurant in a good location. The second was an italian/pizza/seafood restaurant in an outlying town. No way I could have predicted the results.

    I don't think any particular form of advertising always works or always doesn't. You have to try in your area, as part of a coordinated plan.
  4. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I'm with you, Sue. Older, but still too stupid to have all the answers.

    Been there, done it. No results.

    It may be a mistake to advertise my uppity-scale art & framing gallery on the same ketchup-stained, disposable paper product adjacent to the local pizza shop, tire store, used car lot, and oil change drive-thru. That sort of business-by-association might distract from my claims of unique, life-altering framing expertise.
  5. BUDDY

    BUDDY PFG, Picture Framing God

    I did it also.The mistakes I made were the returante was too close to my shop to reach anyone who didn't already know I exsisted.

    Next the adds/cards were so amll that if people were to busy looking at the menu or what they were eating they weren't too likely to notice it in the bunch of other adds.

    And finally I don't remember the exact price but it had a rewal price. That price was High enough that I could obtain a Co-op add in the areas edition of the news paper for less and reach a much higher percentage of the Population .

    All adds have some benfit but you must way which ones have the most. And for me this one had very little for the money.
    PS also the add thing was THIS resturantes last gasp and soon afterwards they sold out. So be sure that it is a well frequented and managed establishment.
  6. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Not to be wet blanket, but does a restaurant that uses paper place mats (with or without ads) really speak well to the clientele we all desire
  7. Lance E

    Lance E Member

    Thats what I was thinking - well that and the fact that I have never seen such a thing here... You Americans are crazy....

    Have you voted in the 2006 competition finalist poll?

    More fun than eating a place mat CLICK ME - CLICK ME!!!
  8. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That is exactly one of my concerns. But on the other hand the communities I'm in aren't exactly cultural hubs. They are agri-"cultural" communities. I'm convinced framing "fine art" isn't going to be the bread and butter of my market area. Rather the family portraits, keepsakes and High School, College and Pro sports related items.
  9. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    hmmm, actually, yes. At least around here.

    Of course, maybe not "there."

    I think that's the key to all of the advertising opportunities we have. They are very dependent on there manefestation in the local area. That's a key reason there isn't a silver bullet, or a recommendation that ALL framers can follow always.

    That's not to say some of there clientele aren't a misfit, but certainly a significant portion could be who I want.
  10. FTP

    FTP CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I would take the 179.00 and eat breakfast there every day. Getting out into the community is so important. If they like you they will come! I hand out more business cards walking my dogs every day. Dog people like dog people so they come ( sometimes with their dogs;) ) Overall just getting out there and being seen is what works for me.
  11. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    Bob, I'm surprised at that coming from you. Haven't you taught us that our "desired clientele" should be any client who has art they love and the willingness to protect and enhance it?

    If I relied on only "upper-end" clientele (linen tablecloth folks), I'd be...well, not very busy. Don't get me wrong, I love doing the upper end framing, but there's an awful lot of paper placemat establishments here (and we dine there too!) with a lot of families that want/need framing done...hopefully by me!
  12. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    BOB! When you took me out to that little desert shack . . .oh, what was that name.. ah! "Ruth's Crisps", I could have sworn they had paper mats.. :D

    Ok, just joking there... but let me look at that...

    Italian restraunt... per person bill with run aobut $20-30....yup, paper placemats...yup, white butcher paper table cloth over the real cloth...yup.

    So I see several of our customers there? Yup.

    Now on to "Country Cuzins".. where the mat is smeared with BBQ sauce and business card sized ads.... yeah, I've been know to rip em out. As for our customers.... who do you think are doing those "Memorability Boxes" that hang next to their 19 counted cross-stitchs?
  13. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    I also wonder what/who the clientele that Bob is referring to includes or, more importantly, excludes??

    My frameshop catered to people who needed framing and would pay to have it done. That seems to be a simple goal in my opinion. Whether that customer earns their money laying bricks or making corporate decisions is completely immaterial to me. If that guy/gal has to come into my frameshop in dirty blue jeans or a nurse's uniform or they can't make it before six and I have to wait until their bus route is ended, I am willing and eager to serve him/her and take their money for the services I am providing for them. If we start culling out potential customers according to where they eat or who they work for or where they get their hair cut, then we'd darn well better take stock of why we are in business in the first place.

    I feel sure that Bob probably made an impulsive statement this time and will be back to explain what he really meant.

    Regarding the placemat ads, I tried them in 2 different businesses and had very poor results from both attempts. I think that it depends on the type of restaurant and where it is located. Also different parts of the country differ drastically in what works and what doesn't work in advertising.

  14. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    Knowing Bob, he was probably dangling a carrot to see who'd bite...right Bob? :D
  15. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    The drizzling beer from my nostrils burns.
  16. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I just knew I'd get the reactions posted by some.

    Heck, if I would have said that this was a perfect venue, then I am certain that some of the same critics would have suggested that they only cater to a higher strata

    So, if this is a portion of the clientele we should attract, does that mean we ought to carry paper mats and reg glass to satisfy that need?

    Now, for the really fun part from our "marketing experts", what would just such an ad say?
  17. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Old Timey picture of Grandparents wedding in an oval frame...

    "When sticking up a picture of Grandma and pa means more that duct tape with BBQ sauce on it".

    "We may not be able to get that BBQ and Fish fry grease stain out of your needlework, but we CAN make it look better."

    "Matching grease stains on mats be are specialty."
  18. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well, I don't know exactly who you are referring to Bob, but I, for one, don't consider myself to be a hypocrite nor do I choose to go on some wild goose chase just to be obnoxious to anything you may have to speak about. I am trying to figure out exactly WHO you may be referring to when you accuse some of us of taking an opposite stand to that of yours?? Is that a law that we HAVE to agree with Bob under penalty of public embarassment and condemnation??

    Heck I am still trying to figure out exactly what your point is. Are you trying to prove a point or are you simply trying to be arrogant no matter what anyone else has to say??? It appears that nobody else is allowed to have an opinion on the paper placemat subject if it differs from yours.

    What a stupid game.

  19. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God


    Half the stuff in this forum qualifies as a stupid game.

    Lighten up a bit.

    I didn't read Bob's comments to be antagonistic.

  20. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    A book I read recently (shocking, yes I know) had a line in it that I highlighted and submitted it to memory. It was, “Learning isn’t a consequence of teaching or listening. It’s a consequence of thinking.”

    Bob is notorious for making statements that really make me think. I’m very glad of that.

    I think the questions are very fair and I can’t for the life of me manage to take them as an insult no matter how hard I try.

    I’ll take a stab at sharing my opinion on the matter. My gut says these mats won’t work. They are $180 for one run! If you have $180 to spend on such and experiment then give er a run! Nothing ventured nothing gained right?

    When my wife and I talk about advertising, one drill we always do is to list from memory who advertises this way. Right now I can’t name any - strike one. If we can’t think of any advertisers then it’s pretty much a no brainer. If we can think of a few of the advertisers then we try to determine the “class” of these advertisers to see if my shop fits in.

    Its mostly Mexican restaurants here that offer this type of advertising. I eat there because they are dirt cheap and I can feed the whole family for $25. I’m sure, on occasion, filthy stinking rich people dine there. I don’t recall ever seeing an existing customer of mine dining there.

    Carry on.
  21. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Anyone who can accurately answer the questions, "Who are my customers?" and "Where do they eat?" will be way ahead of 70% of us.
  22. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have tried Placemat Advertising before. No results. It is like Cliff said, "I don't think any particular form of advertising always works or always doesn't".

    Will I try it again?

    Probably not but don't hold me to it.

    I would take that $180 and put it toward direct mail.
  23. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    My predecessor tried the shopping cart advertisement in the biggest grocery in town.Similar idea. A lot of $$, his mug was on a lot of carts. He didn't get ONE single response. All types of folks have to get their food another way than resteraunts. I would've thought that would be a good one, so it just shows to go ya, you never know unless you try.

    I'm just glad he did the research for me!

    I have to say though, his shopping cart photo looked more like a mug shot than an inviting friendly face, maybe that was why no-one responded...they were afraid to!
  24. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yeah?, … well … okay, can’t argue with you there!

    Seriously, Lance, have you tried any “unconventional” means of advertising in your neck of the woods? Most of us are game to consider (although maybe not try) anything. What are you doing in NZ that might work here?

    I have been approached by the place mats people, but I had reservations (no pun intended) because of concerns that other have voiced.

    Some people have tried to get me to place ads on the back of supermarket check out receipts. Same concerns. But my wife reads the back of those tapes and we have scored discounts for a local theater from them. So maybe they might work? Anybody tried that venue?
  25. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I went back and re-read my posts and can't see that i came down for or against this venue. I do believe that we waste more dollars on advertising than any single expense, yet I do feel that we have to look at ways and avenues of selling more things to more people

    Personally, I would pass on it, but for $179 it sure isn't a big risk

    My follow up post was sincere in asking if Denny did this, what would his message be? Would you tout Archival framing or a $49.88 poster special.

    In essence, back to my original question: Does this reach whom you wish to reach?

    For those that seem to get upset from reading my posts, may I suggest what seems to work for me?

    I just skip over the posts of those that I wish to ignore. There are only a couple, so it is very easy
  26. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I always enjoy reading your posts.

    Do I always agree with you? No, I think we disagree quite often, but you do always make me think, and for that reason alone, I really appreciate your posts.
  27. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I must book your posts, Jennifer, and read them repeatedly, in different lights, because I presume that someone who differs with Bob quite often must be a better businessman and teacher than he is. Any less than that would be a large disappointment and public embarrassment for the challenger. You know, in our little world Bob is rated A framer and A businessman (A+ being held back for those able to top him).
  28. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey Kit! I guess you're off the hook.

    It's not your fault any more - it's Denny's.

    If we're drawing lines in the sand, I wanna be up in the lifeguard tower where I can see all the action and not get trampled.

    Whynot, I'm sure you must be embarrassing Bob. I don't think he's ever claimed to be the best framer and the best businessman on The Grumble.

    If it's true, everyone else should just post questions and Bob should post all the answers.
  29. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    One needs to give Caesar what belongs to him. I hope that I am not embarrassing Bob but rather Jennifer, because, while Bob may not be always infailible, in MOST occasions he's right on the money. Finding yourself desagreeing QUITE OFTEN with Bob is not very wise, except if you offer better solutions than his. That's what I wanted to say in my post above.
    When Bob speaks people listen to what he has to say. I'll listen to Jennifer for a while because she made me curious. That's all.
  30. Lance E

    Lance E Member

    Lots of unconventional things over the years - placemat ad's however are a "nope". Currently my advertising budget is about 10% of what it once was - sponsorship is showing us far better results and allowing us to be more supportive of the sports and community groups we enjoy at the same time (except Hockey, hate it but support them anyhow).
  31. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Bob, I've taken your classes before and I know that if I was getting 49.88 for that poster special without advertising it, I would advertise it at 49.95. The ad would pay for itself after 2558 jobs.

    I am just surprised that you used the .88 in your price, it just doesn't sound like you. [​IMG]
  32. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Placemat ads,
    help-yourself business card rack in the supermarket,
    ad on back of supermarket till receipt,

    Lots of other ideas where you take your chances while the host, who is not an advertising expert rakes it in, never worked for me.

    What did/does is ..

    Radio advertising
    Yellow pages
    Stand alone leaflets.
  33. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey Tim-Can't tell you where I learned it, but there is a physchology behind price points. I was taught that .88 denoted a "promiotional" price point. Actually when I learned it, it was probably LXXXVIII.

    For higher end goods round dollar price points, for "normal" products, .95 (or .99) and promotional stuff, .88.

    Haven't questioned it, just always done it that way

    I probably need to start watching how the big guys do it-they spend a ton of money determining which price points resonate with the majority of consumers.

    And, that's the key-finding what resonates with the majority.

    But, Tim, what would you tout on this venue of advertising? What qualities or features would resonate most strongly with this clientele?

    For those that used this format with poor results what was the message and do you think the poor results were a measure of the venue or the message
  34. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    That is funny!

    (IOW - ROFLMAO!!)
  35. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well Bob, here is what I think...

    Pros: Low Cost, Name Recognition, Great if someone is eating alone and did not bring a book or newspaper.

    Cons: Low Cost (You get what you pay for), short shelf life (Person will only see it before their meal, but not when they are looking at the menu), no control over who your audience is (you can't control who eats there), In my opinion, this type of advertising does not appear professional.

    I would guess that this type of advertising would not get a good response rate for our industry. My wife works in the insurance industry and we always talk about how the advertising that we do is much different than the advertising that her agency does and, we are both successful in our efforts. Placemats may be something for insurance but not picture framing.

    Another idea for $180 would be to mail out to your top 18 customers and give them a $10 gift certificate that expires at the end of the year. I would guess that you would have a better response and better profit with that than 10K placemats.
  36. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I, like Bob, would like to know what the message was in people's ads that they used on placemats. I would like to see the actual ad if possible.

    Not to pick on anyone but, what one thinks the message is may not be what the customer is getting.
  37. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    In your question to Denny, you seem to be implying that the message should be different than the conventional "branded message" that he would use.

    I would suggest ... if you think it needs a different message, then it is the WRONG venue.

    I seem to be the only one that has had this work for them. NOTE, if failed the first time. It worked the second time, because the frequenters of the Italian/Seafood restaurant fit my "average" customer demographic. (a little older possibly, but that's OK)

    The key, in my opinion, to ALL advertising for our type of business, is to be consistent and repetitive. If a particular venue "needs" a "different" message it is probably better to forgo it.

    We are not a commodity or consumable type business. Therefore, we can not tailor our ads to a "rash" or "quick" sale type of ad. For example, if toilet paper was on special, my mother always stocked up, because she new we'd use it! [​IMG]

    In our business, I believe the need occurs when the need occurs. Therefore, we need much more of a "branding" form of advertising that has US foremost on our customers' minds, when that time arises.
  38. DTWDSM

    DTWDSM SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Exactly what I do and I know that I have a brand recognition rate of over 85% in the area that I advertise, about 100 square miles, 400,000 population.
  39. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Tim, missed your question.

    In both ads I placed they were what I call "logo" ads. The same thing I use when I place an ad in the local church bulletins. They are basically my logo, as big as it can be, "Custom Picture Framing" under the logo, the shop address, my phone, and my web address.

    In one I had a "star burst" that said "FREE 2nd Mat" inside it.

    I just took a look at one of the placemats. There is a well known Landscape Arcitect, a Custom Window Treatment Shop, an Optician, An Insurance company, a Realtor, a Funeral Home, A small independent Floor Covering Store, a Jewelry Store, "high-end" gift store, a siding company, a Chimney Sweep, and me.

    All of the ads are basically, logos and a single tag line.

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Let's think out side the box a moment!~
    Go to 6-10 other business people you know say, "hey lets co-opadvertise".
    Now go to a printer ask how much it would cost to print up 10,000 menu size placemats. "Pick resturant you want to be in". Sell them the placemats for a sixth-tenths of the actual printing price!~ Everyone pays a sixth you collect one sixth for your time!~
    Just looking at it from outside the box!~ [​IMG]
  41. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    I disagree 100% that we can't spur business just like the toilet paper vendor does. I also think that "branding" is the most expensive, hardest, and least effective advertisement that there is.

    I have decided to let my location brand me.

    Carry on.
  42. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jay-I'm with you. I always ask in my classes if anyone has a great ad campaign they can remember and follow up with asking if they could have every dime spent on adertising back. It's unanimous on both counts with predictable answers

    I think you can absolutely "spur" business with adertising

    Think I'm wrong? Take a look at Michael's campaigns

    Personally, i would guarantee that if you ran a placemat campaign with "50% off", you would see results.

    If it's profitable for many framers or not is another discussion

    But, I would bet the farm that it would generate results
  43. Baer Charlton

    Baer Charlton SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Lets take Gumby's premis... but about 8 shops... and print 1/4 each side per ad, on the standard plastic bag. Just like a suppermarket.

    Only these are stores in a tight neighborhood...

    Shar doesn't think we got business off the deal, I think we did. But at $150... and there were 400,000 bags, which were passed out by 7 other stores..

    I thought that it was cheap for the name recognition. But what do I know, I only look like Santa Clause...
  44. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    How do people outside your immediate neighbors know your branding?
  45. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    People here do alot of driving.
  46. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    First, got a $330 order yesterday ... saw my name on the placemat.

    Second, Location can work for "branding" in what I'll call a "Captured Customer Marketplace." There can be many forms of CCMs. For example, a small town/city/local where all the residents shop in a tight geographic area. This could be Owensboro, KY or a borough of NY, but the idea is all or most of your target customers actually see your store on a regular basis. Some Mall locations can act as CCMs if the target customer base frequents them on a regular basis as a "recreational" passtime.

    There are parts of Massachusetts that have CCM type locations. The route 9 corridor for example.

    Here in Worcester, the road structure is convoluted and the only mall within 20 miles is anchored by a Marshalls and TJ Maxx (read DISCOUNT). There are a few store clusters (like where my shop is) that customers frequent, but there are a dozen frame shops in the city.

    Bottom line, most of the time the customer must decide to drive to a particular frame shop as a destination. We must do what we can to make our shop be the destination they remember.

    Call it what you want, but I'll call it "branding." If you can find (or move to) a CCM, GREAT! I know one framer that commutes almost an hour and has a cot in the shop so that he can locate his store in a CCM. I'm not willing to do that.

    Third, I DON'T agree that a Michael's type advertising, or a 50% off coupon will bring anyone in that hadn't "hit that point" of needing something framed. I do not believe it is like toilet paper. I DO believe that someone who has "hit that point" will jump at a "coupon" or discount in the belief that they are saving money. I do not believe it "makes them buy."

    Of course, that's all opinion and as valid or invalid as all the others here. ;)
  47. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    At the risk of beating a dead horse I would like to ask something. I agree that we will have a hard time convincing somebody to frame something when they don’t need framing.

    To keep this a bit more on task I would say that I only get the oil changed in my car when it needs it. If oil changes were “FREE” two days after I got my oil changed, I still wouldn’t go back because I don’t “have a need” for more oil at this time.

    Right now it just so happens that I need an oil change for my van to go to Atlanta (I change it once a year rather it needs it or not). Not one single oil-changing outfit will advertise “Free mints” or “Chairs in waiting room” or “We’ll change your oil really really good”. They will certainly employ much more aggressive means to get my business.

    We tout the same advertisement that they disregard by advertising “free mat” and “we’re really great framers”.

    Its been a while since I have glanced at the PPFA reports but I think the research indicates that customers have a high level of regard for us AND the BB’s like Michaels. Your customers already consider you on level ground when it comes to customer satisfaction so we are winning that message! It would seem they are kicking our butt on almost every front except overall customer satisfaction. If that alone was a recipe for success then why don’t we all have crowd control ropes at the design counter?

    If newer research suggested that we actually beat the pants off the BB’s in this area, would we would even see a difference in sales? I think as long as they stick to advertisement that works and we swear it off, we wouldn’t see any difference in sales even if customers hated them.

    Bob suggests that he knows for a fact “50% off Framing” would spike business and some framers can do that quite profitably. I’m shocked that nobody has taken him to the mat on this to find out how? I would ceritnaly like to know more.
  48. Mike LeCompte CPF

    Mike LeCompte CPF MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    slightly off-topic, but only slightly. We've got a guy herre who runs WC Advertising, for Water Closet. Like ads on the bathroom stalls. The pitch is to get into high class resturants and ladies' stores nd have a small ad on the stall door.

    Now that, folks, is a captive audience. Haven't tried it but sounds intriguing.

    And no I won't try it.

    Do I want to be remembered as advertising in a rest room? Dunno
  49. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    I framed one of those placemats recently. Their kid drew a cute little stick person on it.

    Funny, I can't for the life of me remember who had ads on the thing!
  50. J Phipps TN

    J Phipps TN SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That is so bad for your car! You are suppose to change your oil every 3000 miles! [​IMG]
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