Wipe Me: Napkin Ads Extend Consumer Awareness

NapAds, a company that operates a virtual napkin network covering popular nightlife venues, has spent the last year extending its distribution to cover the country's major markets. It has also forged a new partnership with US Airways to deliver as many as 9 million impressions per buy. The burgeoning "napwork" represents another entrant in advertising via disposable paper hygienic products.

Since its launch in January of this year, NapAds has created napkin ads for Absolut, American Express, Bacardi, CW2 and Finlandia, among other advertisers. Target venues include restaurants, sports venues, cinemas, amusement parks, colleges, nightclubs and bars. The 5-inch square cocktail napkins offer photo-realistic images and ample space for text messages printed with non-toxic, no-run ink.

NapAds isn't alone in its efforts.

Since 2006, AdPack USA has been distributing free packs of tissues with printed ad messages for clients like H&R Block, Zagat and Commerce Bank, which give away 2.4 million free packs to promote new account options. Although using tissue packs as ad platforms is relatively new in the U.S., it has been an established medium since the 1970s in Japan, where AdPack is headquartered. About 4 billion free promotional tissue packs are distributed every year in Japan, at a total cost of about $1 billion.



By the same token, NapAds is well-positioned through its relationships with nightlife venues. Recently, researchers have described a number of special attributes of bars and bar-goers that make them attractive venues for marketing. In March, Arbitron released a study which found that 50% of American adults over the age of 21 had visited a bar within the last month--about 105 million. Moreover, 31%--or 65 million people--had been to a bar in the last week.

According to Arbitron, they include a higher percentage of self-described "early adopters" than the population at large. Some 27% of monthly bar-goers consider themselves "early adopters," versus 18% generally--while 26% say they frequently recommend new products to friends, compared to 19% overall.

Another study from Arbitron, performed for place-based video network Ecast, found that bar-goers had a 43% recall for advertising delivered via Ecast. Arbitron's study canvassed bar patrons in New York, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio, in the summer of 2006.

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