2010 February: On Display

If eyes are the windows to the soul, then windows are, well, the windows to the business’ soul. What is unique about your pizza, your menu, or your restaurant? What is new or hot or special?

Window advertising in the forms of cling, which are signs printed on a material that “clings” or sticks to glass, decals or signage like banners or neon signs, is a great opportunity to market what is going on in your restaurant and grab a customer’s attention and business.

“We encourage people to think of it as a channel,” says Marcus Miller, president of AdWise Group, Inc., an advertising fi rm in Carrollton, Texas. “There are three major channels: paid media, non-paid (a reference in a news article), and owned media (Web site, window cling).”

According to Miller, window space can be used to promote new items and current promotions, and if the restaurant has a lot of walk-up traffic, the space can highlight certain items or specials.

“If they have a visible location, use the space to build the brand; use it strategically, just like any media,” Miller says.

According to Corey Nyman, director of operations of The Nyman Group, a restaurant consulting fi rm in Arizona and Las Vegas, many elements affect window advertising. “In our experience, it traditionally works best in urban locations with foot traffic versus street/highway units, as signs aren’t as noticeable to cars driving by. Instead, we have used larger banners strategically placed on building exteriors,” Nyman explains.

Roc-A-Fella’s, a pizzeria that serves New York style pizza in Beavercreek, Ohio, hangs an exterior sign visible from the sidewalk and street boasting key menu items of pizza, sandwiches and pretzels.

Window advertising can be very effective in getting potential customers’ attention as long as the message is short and sweet.

“In today’s marketplace, there needs to be a clear sales message that makes consumers react quickly. Signage should include a few ‘impact-full’ action words or direct sales price that drives consumers to react and buy now. … The day of image campaigns without an accompanying sales message is almost unheard of considering the budgetary constraints brought on by today’s economic climate. Bottom line is that consumers need to be pushed to spend money these days, so talking to them directly is always best,” said John Csukor, president/ CEO of KOR Food Innovation, a restaurant consulting firm in Ashland, Virginia.

Once the message is determined, putting it out there can be done in several ways. “The marketing messages can be done as window clings that either mount on the inside or outside of the window, depending on whether they are tinted or clear. If they are clear, a reverse cling is done,” says Bob Merto of World’s Best Banners, located in Lake Forest, California. He adds that double-sided clings can be effective, as well.

Other window advertising options include a window perf, which is mounted on the inside of the window. It is transparent from the inside. Window posters or banners are available as well.

“Most of the window advertising displays current specials which vary from month to month with most retailers. Graphics should have contrasting colors to grab readers’ attention,” Merto said.

To ensure window advertising hits the mark, Nyman stresses the importance of developing a concept.

“Decals or clings all depend upon the concept and value that the operator is trying to project to their customers or guests,” Nyman said. “Quality of signage is often not taken into full account by the stores, and unfortunately, the signage can potentially come off as cheap or not appealing.”

With so many options in window advertising, the cost can be great or small. “The cost is about four to five cents per square inch, as a rule of thumb. It depends on how big you want your sign,” Miller said.

“Production of the signage, monitors, etc., is driven by size, design and number of pieces you would need to adequately fi ll your window space,” Csukor said.

Csukor adds that “vinyl or sheer cloth banners can be very effective featuring bold food photography that makes your mouth water and well-thought key words that drive passersby to think about your product.

“A more expensive but expressive window (ad) may come through graphic monitor screens that allow you to change messages as often as you desire. Think of it as your own billboard with rotating and changing messages that drive a fast-paced society to make a quick decision to buy now. From the distance most see from the street anything more than four to seven words is overkill, so get the message out, dead on. Talk flavors, talk value, talk quality.”

Windows are prime real estate for operators who want to put their business, their promotions, or their specials out there for the world to see. Whether the design is simple, like a sizzling slice of pizza with dancing pepperonis as a feast for the eyes or a sign that shouts “Medium pizzas, two for $20,” or the claim to fame, “Voted Best Pizza in 2009,” windows are the clear choice in getting potential customers’ attention — and, most importantly, their business. ?

DeAnn Owens is a freelance journalist living in Indianapolis. She specializes in features and human interest stories

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