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Movie Ads, Placemats, Yellow Pages, and More

One thing I actually do miss about being in my retail store was all the ad sales reps with their crazy pitches. Sure, they were a distraction, but as a student of advertising I also saw them as a mental exercise to try to figure out if they were effective and how would I best be able to use them. Plus, I’ve never been one to shy away from a good distraction. (Squirrel!)

To wrap up our discussion of the different media for advertising, here are some of the more obscure or obsolete forms of advertising I’ve been pitched that someone might try to pitch you.


Upside: You have a captive audience sitting in the theater that cannot fast-forward and will be much more likely to watch your larger-than-life, powerful, heartfelt television ad.

Downside: You won’t get a lot of frequency. Many people don’t arrive early enough to see the ads. It costs you the same regardless of how many butts are in the seats.

Pro Tip: Watch the movie release schedule carefully. You’ll get far more viewers the weekend of April 27-29 this year than the weekends before or after. Plan your ads around the blockbuster releases.




Upside:  Yeah, still working on that.

Downside: Passive ad, usually monochrome, covered by a plate, and not seen by the person who, if they had time to read the ads on the placemat would most likely be staring at their phone instead.

Pro Tip: This isn’t an advertisement. It is a “sponsorship”. If you want to donate to a worthy cause through placemat ads, then so be it. (If there isn’t a cause, spend your money elsewhere.)



Upside: People who arrive at an event early will read the program. They might even look at the ads. If it is a school program, they might even hold onto it a little while longer and show it to a relative.

Downside: Limited audience, passive ad, and usually black & white.

Pro Tip: This is most definitely a sponsorship more than an advertising media. If you want to support the program, place the ad. Put it in your sponsorship expense column, though. (Note: those sports posters with the boy’s wrestling program schedule are pretty much the exact same thing as a program.)



Upside: People keep yearbooks for decades.

Downside: People don’t look at yearbook ads for decades.

Pro Tip: Like program ads, this is a sponsorship. Treat it accordingly.



When phone books were still being produced, you needed to have your free listing, but paying for anything more was never the best investment. Now they are promoting yellow pages online. Have you ever seen a yellow pages listing show up in the organic feed of your Google search? And if so, was it above the actual website for the company you were searching? No, me neither.



Select businesses like your local coffee shop will place televisions in their shops that will run loops of ads for the customers. Nope, nope, and nope. Don’t place one of these in your store to annoy your customers. Don’t waste your money annoying someone else’s customers.


If any of you get a pitch for a newfangled advertising media that I haven’t yet covered, let me know.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS I used to spend money on Yellow Pages. Took years to wean myself off and put that money to better use. It broke my heart to say no to high school kids selling yearbook ads because these kids were just learning how to be salespeople. Rejection can be tough. We had thirteen high school yearbooks in our county. I couldn’t afford to sponsor them all. I always tried to be polite and encouraging and thank the students for coming in.

PPS Sponsorships aren’t a bad thing. They just aren’t an effective form of advertising. If you’re going to do some sponsorship ads, at least put the effort in to make the ads sparkle. At least those few who see your ad will know you’re a top-notch business. I did some placemat and program ads over the years for causes I believed in such as Toys for Tots (our largest charity) and the high school boys swim team (of which my son, like me in my day, was one of the captains), but purely as a form of sponsorship. The picture above is a color business-card sized ad I had ready to go. I also had a slew of business-card sized ads optimized for black & white for sponsorship purposes shown below.