From the May 2007 issue of Startups

What: Advertisements that stand upright in cup holders
Who: Matt Faulkner of ArmsLength Promotions
Where: Los Angeles
When: Started in 1999; patented in 2002
Startup costs: $40,000

The next time you go to a movie, you may be entertained before the show even starts. The latest trend in direct advertising is Arms-Length Promotions' product, the Stand-In, and it's grasping the attention of entire audiences, one cup holder at a time.

After arriving early to a movie with his son, ArmsLength founder and CEO Matt Faulkner, 48, noticed the untapped potential of stadium seating cup holders as a medium for advertising. By 2002, Faulkner secured a patent for the Stand-In and set the stage for a new wave of advertising in entertainment venues across the nation. Using only friction and postcard-weight card stock, the Stand-In fits securely into and stands upright in almost any cup holder without blocking it.

ArmsLength's clients, including McDonald's and Major League Baseball, have the opportunity to customize their Stand-Ins beyond strict advertisements. Not only does the perforated base double as a detachable coupon, but the attention-grabbing vertical advertisement can put promotional items such as schedules, collectibles or even DVDs within easy reach of each person in the audience. "The intimacy of [the Stand-In]," says Faulkner, "demands [that consumers] interact with it because it is so close." In addition, ArmsLength's ability to adapt to the predicted interests of a target demographic based on the type of event they are attending ensures the message will be received.

After patenting the Stand-In for roughly $40,000, ArmsLength Promotions has continued to expand the use of its product to new and innovative venues. No longer limited to theaters and stadiums, the Stand-In is now found in airports, hotels, gyms, hospitals and even rental cars--basically anywhere and everywhere there's a cup holder. Clients are praising the Stand-In's unique ability to get into the personal space of consumers, and ArmsLength Promotions is expected to grab sales of more than $500,000 in 2007.