Company/description: InSite Advertising Inc. places ads in the bathrooms of crowd-attracting venues.
Based: New York City
Combined 1999 sales: $4 million
Combined 2000 projections: $8 million
The porcelain god: Inspired by the Dana Carvey flick Opportunity Knocks as well as his own fixation with sports pages posted above the urinals at bars and nightclubs he frequented, Marc Miller had an epiphany: Why not use public restrooms as an advertising medium? And not just any old commode--Miller specifically chose those within the hottest venues, where only the most happening 21-to-35-year-olds dispose of their martinis and microbrews. A medium where male relievers keep their attention focused on the wall in front of them and female relievers curiously examine any written text in their peripheral vision. "Every man knows that if you look left or right it turns into a liability," says Miller. So with that, as well as enthusiasm from family members, he launched InSite Advertising--a supplier of mini-billboards that allow advertisers to hawk their wares and venue proprietors to average 15 percent in revenue.
Head rush: Fresh out of college as well as a hedonistic month in the south of France, Miller and a former partner pounded the pavement to meet high-power ad agency execs by day and T-shirt-and-shorts-clad bar owners by night. With $5,000 in personal and familial contributions, Miller secured affordable office space through a generous building owner and, within three months, secured 75 interested venues. "From that point on, we were very successful in getting some big-name clients onto our billboards," says Miller. "So we decided to open up other markets. We thought if advertisers were interested in our concept in New York, they'd probably be interested in Philly, Chicago, DC, LA and Boston."
Bowled over: Today, with 22 strategic markets in place, InSite has plunged into the lavatories of alternate venues nationwide, such as health clubs, shopping malls and concert arenas. With sales climbing from $300,000 in 1998 to an astounding projected $8 million this year, there's no way this business is going down the toilet.