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Spreading the News

Innovative advertising is catching the eye of both consumers and franchisees.

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This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Advertisements just aren't what they used to be. Billboards have become a part of the scenery, TV commercials can be passed over with the touch of a fast-forward button, and advertisements are no longer confined to the pages of a black-and-white newspaper. There's a new generation of marketing companies using creative, innovative ways to get their messages to consumers. These companies are also using franchising to give people a chance to unleash both their creativity and their entrepreneurial spirits.

Discovery Map

Visitors to a new city will always need accommodation, food, shops and a map to lead the way. So what better way to combine both the advertising needs of local businesses with the navigating needs of tourists than by creating hand-illustrated maps with enough space on the back to list 200 advertisers? That's what Discovery Map, an Anacortes, Washington-based franchise, figured when it first mapped out the business concept in 1987. In 2002, the franchise gave the maps a modern look and feel by creating an interactive web version, allowing visitors to virtually explore a city before ever setting foot in it--and letting advertisers see just how many eyeballs scan their listings.

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