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Social networking with a humble napkin

napads.jpgIf you think talking billboards, pop-ups and ads beamed to your cell phone are intrusive, consider what a company called NapAds are doing.

They will create ads on napkins and place it in clubs and lounges where the hard-to-reach 18-34 demo hangs out. They aptly call it a way to be in on “the original social networking.” The company prints the message or artwork directly on napkins, so they still have the touch and feel of napkins.

Intrusive? Maybe (but so are branded coasters.) Functional? Hey, it's a lot better than wrapping a chilled Molson in a brochure!

For now they can reach this target in New York's Manhattan district, but NapAds they can get placement in other big cities. The ads will ‘run' in a location for30 days. US Airways is using 10 million napkins a month! Probably more engaging than the flight safety instructions in front of you.

To be sure, napkin ads will soon make the leap from analog networking into the digital stream. If someone hasn't already, I could see how a brand could print short codes and links to micro-sites for people to quickly subscribe to place-based content, upload pictures to Flickr, and interact with others via a smart phone. Perfect for outdoor events, consumer promotions, even packaged goods brands doing sampling at an event. It could be narrow targeted, and tightly integrated into other Marcom activity.

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