The communication potential of public restrooms is not something that has gone un-noticed. After all, everyone uses them and in the process becomes a captive audience. Even twenty years ago, at a nightclub I was marketing on Philadelphia’s waterfront, we had frames on the inside of the stall doors where we promoted upcoming events along with display ads from beverage companies. There is also the good old American ingenuity of posting the sports page of the day’s paper above certain male-oriented fixtures; giving guys a chance to catch the box score of the second half of last night’s double header instead of merely executing the silent, dead-ahead stare that is standard men’s room protocol.
Then there is this little bit of pure genius from south of the border.
Mas Por Mas a popular print and online Mexican newspaper looking for a way to increase readership and direct eyes to its online edition teamed up with ad agency FCB Mexico to take the news in the loo idea a step further. The paper has installed internet-connected paper towel dispensers in public restrooms that print the latest headlines right on the towel.
Imagine the possibilities of this technology for marketing communications. Being internet-connected, content could be changed in real-time. Knowing where the dispensers are installed gives the ability for demographic and geographic targeting. If combined with other digital-meets-print technology such as augmented reality or other smartphone-scanable technology, a simple paper towel could lead to an immersive multimedia communication experience.