Thanks to Facebook and, well, the internet in general, going out into the world and physically putting up posters may seem like an entirely impractical way to publicize your lost cat or used bike. But after browsing hydro poles in Toronto neighbourhoods, we’ve discovered just how effective posters can be.
French lessons (pictured above)
Location: Spadina Rd. and Lonsdale Rd., #ANX
The ad: Joséphine Laframboise offered Skype (and in-person) French lessons.
Why poster?: “I wanted to stay close to home, so I opted for a poster blitz. I have put ads on Craigslist before but didn’t get any bites. I feel it’s harder to reach a particular audience on the web. And I was targeting a local audience in Forest Hill.”
Response: “I had a lot of calls within the first week, most of them inquiries. From that, I had one student sign up. All in all, I think it’s been successful. It cost me barely anything to do.”
Location: Bellevue Ave. and Nassau St., #KNM
The ad: Agata Gidzinski, owner of Meow Meow, an outdoor, white-and-brown tabby cat, said her feline hasn’t come home since Oct. 16.
Why poster?: “I posted a message on Facebook first. A lot of my friends are in the neighbourhood, and I put several posters up so my neighbours would see them. Most cats, when they go missing, don’t go more than 300 metres. So it made sense to put up a poster up as well as a message on the web.”
Response: “When I put the poster up I really didn’t have faith. I got a call within the first week and have had two people call since, claiming they have my cat. I had to get them to send pictures so I could make sure, but it turns out [that in both cases], it wasn’t my cat. One man called after four weeks, just to give me advice on how to find my cat. I’m still hoping my cat comes back.”
Location: Heath St. (behind St. Clair West subway station, #SCW)
The ad: Carolyn Kilbourne was walking her dog in the St. Clair ravine along the path. She bent down to pick up her dog’s mess, and her sunglasses must have fallen into the bushes.
Why poster?: “I put up four posters in the neighbourhood. I wanted to see if other dog walkers had seen my glasses. I kept to that area, hoping for a local reaction. I had just bought the glasses and they were expensive. It was worth every effort to get them back. I opted for the poster to target my audience a bit better. Posting on the web seemed like it wouldn’t be as targeted.”
Response: “I had one woman phone. She didn’t find the glasses. But she said along the ravine footbridge she saw a poster response to my lost sunglasses. That poster read: ‘FOUND: a pair of aviator glasses.’ She didn’t have contact details for whoever posted it, but when I went to find the poster first thing Monday, the weather must have destroyed it. I’ve since replaced the sunglasses.”
Location: Spadina Ave. (near U of T, #COL)
The ad: Ross Corder, owner of Hot Beans vegan burritos, said he started home delivery (via Send It Couriers) in the Spadina-St. George neighbourhood.
Why poster?: “We did both web and print. It seemed cheaper to post flyers strategically. I wanted to home in on the lunch crowd. And of course, being close to U of T, I wanted to get the word out locally.”
Response: “Pretty good. It’s only been two weeks. We’ve had four to five deliveries a day. I’ve never put poster-flyers up before, so there is a modest expectation here.”