Our Latest Campaigns Include: FreshCo. & The Toronto Public Library

Rabbi’s wife wins library ad contract

By: David Gordon – Correspondent
Published in the Jewish Tribune

As the largest public library system in Canada, and the busiest system worldwide, Toronto’s 98 libraries are a key resource for hundreds of thousands of residents. Amidst the free books, DVDs and classes, Leah Weber has found a way to benefit the libraries, companies and borrowers alike.

Two years ago Weber, wife of Rabbi Yehoshua Weber of Toronto’s Clanton Park congregation, began selling ad receipt space in North York supermarkets, with John Vince, Nortown Meats and Sobeys/Price Chopper as clients. One evening, a trip to the library with her children sparked a new idea, that she could provide the same service for libraries.

Her pitch to the Toronto Public Library (TPL) was simple: she would supply rolls of paper that are used for printing out due-date reminders, and in return she could sell the blank space on the back for ads.

The initial response was that library policy would not allow advertising of any kind, but they were open to change as they were facing a budget deficit. A few months later, the board greenlit the project.

Weber’s company, Receipt Media Ltd., won the bid to provide the ads on receipts.

Her company works closely with the TPL to screen advertisers and ensure that they were not targeting children or compromising the image of the library.
The library’s advertising policy prohibits ads promoting tobacco or alcohol products, religious beliefs, political positions and parties. It also forbids ads that could “detract from the library’s public image.”

The project has proved to be a win-win situation for everyone, with the library saving at least $40,000 annually on register roll paper, she said.

Mayor Rob Ford, meanwhile, has been encouraging corporate partnerships with the library system to offset costs and reduce the tax burden.

Weber reflects that the collaboration has allowed for a “great opportunity for tax payers’ money to be used for more goods and services within the library. Can you imagine how many books and DVDs could be purchased with that money?

“Over the course of just a few a years, the savings to the city is huge…and of course the patrons win, by getting savings on products and services advertised, and the library with its new source of saved income. I think this might even increase the library products and hours.”

TPL sees 19 million visitors at its branches annually who borrow more than 32 million items, officials say.

Many European countries use receipt advertising, and Mississauga and Calgary already have ads on due-date slips.

“The skeptics say that ‘who looks at receipts? People just throw them out.’ However, with library receipts only those people who want them, take the receipts,” Weber said.
“Most patrons use the receipt as a book mark or keep it on the desk for reference when to return the items.”

Current advertisers for the program are H&R Real Estate, Mirvish Productions, Pizza Nova, TDSB, Pizza Pizza, Diamond and Diamond lawyers and MADD Canada. There are plans for a summer campaign to include entertainment companies such as the Hockey Hall of Fame and others.

Libraries Weigh Accepting Paid Ads to Keep Afloat

By: Beverly Goldberg
Published on americanlibrariesmagazine.org

With the Great Recession still affecting public service budgets nationwide, libraries continue to pursue new funding avenues. The latest foray into fiscal triage, undertaken by at least two libraries—Toronto (Ont.) Reference Public Library and the Port Chester –Rye Brook (N.Y.) Library—is to allow commercial enterprises to advertise their products and services in the library. In both cases, the libraries have accepted a quid pro quo from ad placement companies. The firms provide a product for free to the library. In exchange, the company keeps whatever revenue comes from selling the ads displayed on that free product.

Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) arrangement with Receipt Media began this spring as a six-month pilot in which ads appear on the back of every date-due slip. The firm solicits the ads.
Administrators at Port Chester–Rye Brook Library decided to allow ads after having to reduce staffing and service hours in June 2012. Within two months, the library was receiving free two-ply bathroom tissue from the start-up company Star Toilet Paper, which prints on the toilet paper advertising it secures from local vendors. Trackable coupon codes delivered “great scan rates,” company cofounder Bryan Silverman told American Libraries, and now it is “winding down with the library and venturing into larger venues.”

In a March 11 interview on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning,” TPL Chief Librarian Jane Pyper said the library will save $20,000 Canadian ($19,795 US) over the duration of the pilot—“our annual book budget in a small neighborhood branch.” She stressed how the library board first established a policy that reaffirms TPL’s mission to “provide a broad range of information in a neutral public space” and reserved the right to reject anything deemed “inappropriate,” such as ads aimed at children. “The goal here is to raise revenue in a context that is sensitive to the library environment,” Pyper said.

That’s an outlook Martin Garnar, chair of the American Library Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics, readily agrees with. “We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions,” he said, quoting Article VI of ALA’s Code of Professional Ethics. “Is the loss of the library’s reputation within the community worth the potential advertising revenue?”

So far, TPL’s reputation seems to be intact. “There has not been a huge response one way or the other” from patrons, Linda Hazzan, director of communications, programming, and customer engagement at TPL, told AL. A few users have voiced philosophical opposition to any such arrangement; one man who filed a complaint with the board has been invited to present his objections in the fall (PDF file). Others say they are comfortable with “unobtrusive advertising that goes to funding programs and services.”

One patron called the ads a “win-win” after finding a pizza coupon on the back of his date-due slip. Other TPL advertisers include a theater company, the Toronto Star, and a personal-injury lawyer.

Garnar cautioned that such arrangements could pose an ethical dilemma. “Would advertisers’ messages appear to give them a place of privilege when a patron asks for a list of all local establishments in that line of business?” he asked.

Toronto Public Library to earn $20,000 from ads on date-due slip

By: Daniel Dale, City Hall Reporter, Published on Thu Mar 07 2013

Beginning in late March or early April, every date-due slip will carry an advertisement on the back.
Visitors to the Toronto Public Library will soon notice something different about the reminder slips they bring home with their books. Or so advertisers hope.

Beginning in late March or early April, every date-due slip will have an ad on the back. By handing over this untapped real estate to an ad-sales company for a six-month trial period, the library will reap $20,000 in savings.

The library has long allowed companies to sponsor programs, but it has not previously permitted direct advertising anywhere other than the library magazine. Pressed by Mayor Rob Ford’s administration to contain costs, the library board endorsed date-due ads last year.

During the six-month pilot, a company, Receipt Media, will pay for the slip paper in exchange for the right to sell ads and keep the money.

The library, which has a budget of about $180 million, will not see a windfall. But “at the end of the day, the pennies all add up,” said right-leaning Councillor Paul Ainslie, the board chair.

“We’ll see how it goes. It’s not a huge pot of money, and I don’t think we were expecting a huge pot of money. But we’re at least looking for revenue sources. We just thought it was an easy ticket to picking up revenue.”

Board member and left-leaning councillor Janet Davis said the public library should be an ad-free “oasis.” The library is sacrificing its reputation for a “pittance,” she said.

“We have a good name, and I think the value of our good name should not be squandered for $20,000 of revenue.”

Library official Linda Hazzan said she cannot name the “five or six” advertisers who have signed on to date. She said they include a newspaper, a continuing education institution, and a cultural production — largely companies “that are sort of aligned with what we do,” she said.

The ads do not appear to foreshadow a future in which library walls become billboards. A consultant concluded that several other possible ad locations are not viable. And the board has proceeded cautiously.

The board endorsed ads for the library’s wireless Internet system but declined to approve ads for its website. It also prohibited “commercial advertising primarily targeted to children, including but not limited to the commercial advertising of food and beverages directed to children.”

Receipt Media, which is best known for ads on the back of supermarket receipts, does not appear to be raking in cash itself. In an ad on its own website seeking advertisers for the library, it offers six months of ads for $8,000 and a full year for $15,000. “Millions see your ad for less than a penny an exposure,” the pitch says.

Toronto Public Library To Advertise On Date-Due Slips

This copy of Fast Food Nation brought to you by McDonald’s?

In an attempt to diversify its revenue and funding sources, the Toronto Public Library (TPL) is seeking an agency partner to provide it with advertising services on the back of the date-due slips issued to borrowers.

The TPL has also issued a second RFP for a consultant to evaluate “all library channels and vehicles” – including in-branch posters and brochure displays; online text and display ads on its website; and its truck fleet, excluding Bookmobiles – for advertising opportunities.

One of the principles of the TPL’s newly developed advertising policy is to develop what it calls “mutually beneficial” advertising relationships between the library, the business community and other organizations while using ad revenue to support the delivery of library service.

Linda Hazzan, director of communications, programming and customer engagement with the TPL, said it’s unclear how much incremental revenue the program would generate.

In many ways, the TPL is venturing into uncharted territory. A review of paid advertising approaches of other North American libraries conducted before the RFP was issued found that library systems generally do not have advertising policies or programs in place.

“We don’t have a lot of examples to base revenue models on,” Hazzan told Marketing in an e-mail interview. “This is one of the reasons we have issued an RFP for advertising and media consultation services – to determine both the revenue potential of the various library advertising vehicles and the infrastructure requirements and costs associated with implementing and managing a successful advertising program.”
The TPL has already embarked on a program to expand advertising around its What’s On?publication, which currently generates an estimated $35,000 in annual revenue. Hazzan said the TPL has only just begun expanding its advertising base, and expects to see new advertisers for the publication’s 2013 issues.
The TPL also operates advertiser-supported programs such as the TD Summer Reading Club.

Asked if there was any concern about public outrage over further advertiser incursion into the public realm, Hazzan said that the TPL would strive to ensure that any advertising program balances the organization’s primary public service role with the need to generate revenue.

According to the RFP, the winning vendor will be responsible for the sale, production/printing, testing and quality assurance of display ads on the reverse of the date-due slips as well as the installation, testing, function and maintenance of equipment required to facilitate the printing or display of advertising on the reverse side of date-due slips.

In February, Toronto council accepted a $10 million cut to the TPL’s budget that was to be derived from internal efficiencies, new revenues and 100 job cuts, but not major service reductions.