When people wash or dry their hands, facilities have a captive audience. And facility executives are capitalizing on that fact by using dispenser space to engage building occupants. For example, some companies are using the dispensers to promote upcoming events within the organization, says Ambler.

Of course, if a facility has a captive audience, why not use that opportunity to make money? Towel dispensers that have a window include space for an advertising insert that can be sold to an outside vendor. Distributors can go online and upload a graphic and text to a template form. They can then print these ads for their customers to insert into the dispenser.

A client of Southeastern Paper Group — the Charleston RiverDogs baseball team — has its logo on its soap dispensers, but also sells space on the dispensers to an outside marketing firm, says Winston Lockard Jr., a sales consultant for the Spartanburg, S.C.-based distributor. Lockard was inspired to offer this option after hearing the New York Yankees’ minor league facility in Florida had a similar product.

Depending on the vendor and supply company, the cost difference between a plain restroom dispenser and one that is branded is roughly 5 percent to 10 percent, scarcely a number that will prevent bigger corporations from shying away from the marketing opportunity, Fricanco says.

For larger universities and stadiums that often purchase in bulk, the price break will balance out, adds Silverman.

“I’m surprised more people aren’t doing this because there is money to be made,” says Lockard. “Adding a custom logo isn’t that much of a cost difference and the idea of making money off your dispensers is one that I think more facilities should be thinking about.” 

Keith Loria is a freelancer based in Oakton, Va.

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