Special offer

3 Young Boys And A Lot Of Chocolate Milk: Men's Room Marketing

Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Estate Shows

Last Wednesday, Jeff Turner, three of his sons and I were having lunch at Jerry's Deli in Marina Del Rey, CA. Jeff's boys were slurping down multiple chocolate milks and that meant multiple trips to the Men's Room. If not for that, this story could not have been written. 

On his third trip to the Men's Room Jeff noticed a framed advertisement hung on the wall just outside the door. It didn't register on his radar screen during his first two trips. Inside the frame were 6 listing flyers for nearby homes from a local REALTOR® team.

Realtor Flyers On Wall At Jerry’s DeliEach flyer was an 8 by 11 sheet, so you had to be within 2 or 3 feet from the page to read it. It was hung on a wall that was not visible until you were standing just outside the Men's Room, an area visibly separated from the restaurant. If you didn't need to use the rest room there was no earthly reason to go there.

I don't know about the rest of you, but when I need to use the rest room, my mind is focused on my mission. Im not likely to be distracted by anything, much less a REALTOR®'s ad. And when I'm leaving the rest room, I'm not likely to want to jerk my head 90 degrees left to look at a flyer, throw my neck out of joint and require a trip to my chiropractor.

Jeff and I could not let it rest. We called the manager over.

"Do people have to pay to put up ads like that one?" I asked him, pointing to the REALTOR®'s ad.
"Oh yes," he said. "Its all handled by the agency that prints our menus."
"Do you know how much?" I asked.
"No, I dont," he replied. "But its probably not cheap."

Whether its cheap or not, the question for me is this: Why do REALTORS® (or anyone else, for that matter) spend money on frivolous, ill-conceived, ineffective advertising gimmicks that don't work?

Is it just ego? After all, Jerry Buss (the Lakers owner) sometimes shows up at that restaurant usually wearing jeans and a Laker Girl.

Readers, please help me understand why so many people continue to spend money senselessly while ignoring solid marketing programs that get good results over time.

Why? Why? 

Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Bill--Good question! Some of these weird ads will work but some are just bad. This one fits the bad catagory. They also have ads available on the backdoors of the stalls in restaurant women's bathrooms. Like someone would have a pen and take down your number while taking care of business. Just because someone calls to sell you an ad doesn't mean it makes sense to buy it.

Oct 23, 2007 06:32 AM
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

I don't know if you recall a Dodge Truck campaign from a few years ago where the entire ad campaign centered on two men taking care of business in a mensroom while having a "bigger is better" conversation inspired by the poster they were facing with the new 'bigger' truck. It made for an extremely funny TV ad and actually resulted in a bunch of these posters place in mensrooms in metropolitan cities...

In that case, whoever handled the campaign came up with a great idea, and the place was 'naturally' chosen to make it work. In what you describe, a good sales rep from obviously a lousy agency took advantage of someone's lack of savvy. Happens all the time, unfortunately. Worst I have seen locally is realtors' names plastered all over supermarket trashcans... (yum... that's the association you want!)

Oct 23, 2007 06:52 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Bill, I get solicitations for this stuff all the time. And it is not cheap. Placemats, grocery carts, stand up toilet strainer "thingies", bathroom stall walls, coasters at the local pub, maps, bus benches, garbage bins in front of WalMart, Pamela Anderson's boobies etc....

I actually had a agent that worked for me years ago that bought an ad for the garbage can at the new WalMart. She paid about $1,500 for the year to have her picture and phone number on the garbage can. What a waste. She would actually go by there once a week to make sure it was facing the parking lot. 

Oct 23, 2007 09:14 AM
"The Lovely Wife" The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


The Professionals that do this must be the same Professionals who believe a number from the phone book is a "lead" :)

This really is a waste of money. Don't ya hate seeing that? :)

I have to go now. Why? Blog Boy is looking for Pamela. I'm cutting off his Internet :)


Oct 23, 2007 10:36 AM
Sarah Cooper
Real Estate Shows - Hurricane, WV

"and a Laker Girl."  LOL!!!

It's a good idea to keep looking at what you're doing with fresh eyes.  Sometimes a second look will make you question yourself enough to make changes for the better.

Oct 23, 2007 10:46 AM
Bill Leider

Teri...I agree. This one is so obviously bad, if only because of its location. Don't people think about that when they're buying this stuff. The apparent answer is NO. I just don't get it.


Inna...Trashcans. Now that sounds appealing - if you're a cockroach.  

Bryant...I'd like to contact the agent who worked for you and paid $1500 a year to appear on a garbage can. I know there must be something I can sell her. What a promo campaign she could have run - Now appearing on a garbage can in your neighborhood.


Oct 23, 2007 05:15 PM
Bill Leider
TLW...Cut Blog Boy some slack. Let him have his Pamela fantasy.
Oct 23, 2007 05:17 PM
Bill Leider
Sarah...That's an authentic comment. I saw Jerry Buss at that Deli two years ago on Christmas night. The place was jammed, about an hour wait for a table and in walks Jerry wearing the most grotesque jeans - the crotch was hanging about 3 inches off the floor - with a Laker Girl hanging all over him. She was anything but grotesque. He got a table immediately.
Oct 23, 2007 05:21 PM