Dec 012006

I’m Embarrassed for My Profession

I’m Embarrassed for My Profession

File this under the heading of “just when you think you’ve seen it all” — I am a marketing services person and typically applaud ingenuity and buzz-generating things wherever I see them.  But even I was a bit surprised last night at dinner when I went to use the restroom to find a new form of advertising — the custom urinal cake.

Urinal1Urinal2Universal is promoting its new film, Let’s Go to Prison, in this somewhat unorthodox manner.  It did have my rapt attention for, say, 30-60 seconds, which is more time than I usually give ads.  And perhaps I paid more attention to it than I would have had it been a wall-mounted eye-level ad above the urinal.

I know from my MovieFone days (and ironically, I was at a MovieFone alumni happy hour last night just before this restroom odyssey) that studios will try anything, but honestly, do you want your customers literally pissing on your brand?  What’s next, print ads on toilet paper?  Hopefully at least the fulfillment company would come up with a sure-bet non-bleeding ink.

And as my colleague Tami said when I mentioned this to her today, how exactly are they planning on tracking the effectiveness of these ads?  It’s not like you can measure the click-stream.  :-)

Filed under: Business


  • Travis S.

    I think it is kind of fitting, actually, since most movies that are released today and just about as good as a urinal cake or toilet paper.

  • Kevin

    Did you take those pics? I’m more curious about what people thought of you holding up your camera phone in front of the urinal. :-)

    To their credit – all of your 1,398 readers just got reminded about the movie due to this post.

    Thanks for the good laugh, Matt. This is pretty funny.

  • Derek Scruggs

    This is old news, sort of. I remember going to a bar in Chicago in, oh, about 1992 and seeing that a rock band had put their name on all the little rubber filter thingies in the urinal.

  • Dave H

    Funny Post Matt

    The Urinal Cake thing might work better than those Zoom Media ads that are in front of your face when you’re standing there taking care of business.

    People typically look down when performing this routine function, and the novelty of a new custom urinal cake might make people take notice.

    However, I dread the day when someone starts auctioning off their collection of rare custom urinal cakes….


  • Michael M

    Pretty sure did this as well. Something along the lines of “don’t piss away half your money… head to”

  • Roger von Oech

    I wonder if Universal is promoting their movie on the toilet paper in the nearby stall. And perhaps a little “floaty thing” in the toilet bowl as well. Then you’d have the “potty hat trick.”

  • Scott Rafer

    Do you limit your marketing services only to certain sorts of brands? Some brands do well in acid rain and some don’t. I’ve got no idea which one MovieFone is., which put out urinal screens not urinal cakes, did great in that kind of weather. It also turns out that it’s no one’s job to replace that particular piece of hardware, so they lasted years and gathered thousands of “impressions.”

  • Scott Rafer

    Oops, correction. What the brand of “Let’s Go to Prison” means not what the brand Moviefone means.

  • David Thomas

    Studies prove that giving men something to aim at improves cleanliness around the urinal and Direct Aim has come up with a way to do just that. Visit and choose between the football urinal screen and the soccer urinal screen. Put them in your urinals to improved cleanliness and reduce your cleaning costs today! Customize them and give as a unique gag gift!