There was a time when advertising impressions had nothing to do with Google.  In fact, print and television owned the space advertising market.  Matchbooks were a common and prominent steadfast advertising medium.  Now digital and non-digital share the space, and cost per impression or CPI is constantly monitored and analyzed.  The matchbook industry has proudly touted up to 28 advertising impressions per single matchbook.  The user would look at the advertisement 20 times to light a match, and the people around the match user were exposed up to 8-times.  With so many options to spend your promotional dollars, why is the matchbook – a palm billboard – an effective choice?

Unlike pushy calls-to-action, the matchbook imposes a subtle influence on the match user.  The cover is attractively printed with a restaurant name.  But not just any restaurant.  It is the restaurant where they shared an intimate meal with a loved one.  Or maybe there was a gathering at the pub, friends and food and craft brew.  The matchbook went home in their pocket, and now they reflect on the special time when the see the book resting on the table top.

By linking the customer’s memory with the keepsake matchbook, you have linked the positive feelings with your brand.  Your goal is to influence the customers behavior over time, and encourage them to revisit your restaurant, or buy a growler of your craft brew.  The subtle influence of a matchbook, is a timeless and effective way to earn repeat business.

Another extreme benefit of matchbook advertising is the cost.  When you do the math, the number of impressions for the cost of the single matchbook is pure magic.  The Advertising Specialty Institute conducted a survey and found the following cost per impression (CPI):

Prime-Time TV 2.4¢
National Magazine  1.8¢
Newspaper 0.9¢
Spot Radio 0.6¢
Internet 0.5¢

The matchbook places at an amazing 0.006¢ per impression.

So you could buy 70,000 impressions inside one case of matches for just over $400.  What other give-away can you provide to every customer leaving your door, as a keepsake of the fine experience?  Everyone loves matches.  People call daily to Atlas Match and D.D. Bean & Sons to talk about the matches they have collected, or sometimes inherited as memorabilia.  The matchbooks you give to valued customers will not be discarded quickly or without sentiment.

Matches won’t replace other forms of advertising.  They will only seek to compliment other forms.  Any good marketing program includes several types of messaging, and of course digital is important and powerful.  But for the small dollars spent on matchbook advertising, there is a large opportunity to influence your customers and nudge them towards a referral or a return visit.