Restroom Advertisements. What?!?!


Don’t you think a great place to advertise would be in a public restroom, especially in the women’s restroom on the stall doors? Can you say, “Captive audience.”  What a better place to pitch a product to a consumer? It is great ad space that can be sold at a premium in high traffic areas. Restroom advertisements, why not?

According to Brandchannel, a 2006 study shows that around three-quarters of diners in a restaurant will go to the toilets at some point during their meal. Clubbers go around 2.9 times during an average evening at a nightclub. I am sure in the past five years this number has increased.

Unfortunately, I can count on one hand how many times I seen a company utilize this space.  Prior to writing this post, I did several Google searches  for ‘bathroom advertising’, ‘restroom advertising’, ‘bathroom stall advertising’, and ‘indoor advertising’, and I only found two posts that were relevant from this past year and five post that were relevant in the past six years.

So I ask, “What is a better place to pitch a product to a consumer?”

Of course, there are quite a few factors that go into determining if this unconventional medium is for a company, but I believe consumers would be receptive to messages in the bathroom. During the short period of time people are in there, they tend to concentrate more, ruminate in their thoughts, and enjoy momentary peace and quiet.  And I believe it is better to have people reading and taking in a company’s message versus using their phones while in the public restroom and announcing to everyone their private business.

If you agree with me on this idea, in order to advertise properly and ensure the correct message gets across, a company should consider the following four steps.

1.  Identify their target audience by realizing that restroom advertisements are geared towards specific genders. Place advertisements in such an arena if you want to market your product or service specifically to men or women.

“Restroom ads also allow companies to target a gender with 100% accuracy.” – Fortune

2.  Ensure that the advertisement is appropriate for the venue in order to successfully reach your target audience. According to a Rice University Study, “Retention of impressions generated by restroom advertising was found to be on average 40% stronger than impressions generated by other media.”

3. Employ innovative advertising techniques to acquire and then retain the public’s attention. Extend your product promotions from stall walls and position bathroom advertisements on paper towel holders, mirrors, urinals, door handles and toilet paper rolls.

For example, in March 2011, CNN reported that companies such as Pepsi, Geico, Illy coffee, Microsoft, Pledge cleaning products,, Spanx women’s undergarments and Dove men’s care products are beginning to advertise in airport restrooms starting in O’Hare International Airport. The advertisements are displayed on 40 inch digital display mirrors produced by Mirrus, a North Carolina company that manufactures and markets the mirrors. The high-definition screens display both short films and still images.  Recently I flew in and out of O’Hare and I am bummed that I did not see any of the ads.

4.  Initiate feedback to determine the success of your bathroom advertisements. Inquire where new customers learned of your services. Watch the facial expressions of people as they encounter the advertisement. Utilize this feedback to improve upon your original efforts and create better bathroom advertisements.

For example, in late August I was in a public restroom in Delaware and on the back of the stall door there was an advertisement for the local outlet malls.  It had a QR code for its “call to action”, which you needed to scan to obtain the coupons.  However, the major faux pas in my opinion was that the company required me to pull out my phone in the stall while trying to do other “important” duties to scan the code.  For that reason, my suggestion would be to that company or any other is if and when you ask for a “call to action”; place that action on the mirror above the sinks, the exit door, or some other place in the restroom.   Please, Please, Please do not make us pull out our phones, they are dirty enough from other things we touch all day long.

While you might still question this form of advertising, I again would say, you have a captive audience and a dedicated 1 to 2 minutes of their time. Use it wisely.