Pointing customers to the nearest location

11May09

In my opinion, most outdoor advertising is quite uninspiring. I think this is a by-product of how outdoor ads are sold. The campaigns tend to be very localized, so they either get assigned to a mediocre local agency, or some big agency handles the job but has to cut corners to produce the thousands of regional variations that are required for a nationwide campaign.

With this in mind, I was very impressed by an ad for Potbelly Sandwich Works, a Chicago-based sandwich chain with about 200 locations. The ad I saw was located at a downtown El station, but it wasn’t the image or tagline that caught my eye. Rather, it was a simple piece of text at the end: “State and Lake”. That’s the location of the nearest Potbelly store to where the ad was placed.

This is a great approach: they tell you about the product and why you should buy it, and then let you know the closest place to find a store. That takes away a big hurdle in the sales process, since people know exactly where to go if they want the product right now, or where to find it if they’re in that neighborhood in the future. I’ve never seen another restaurant take this approach with their outdoor ads, so I bet it’s helping Potbelly gain market share over the competition.



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