San Francisco — Wait a minute - don't throw away that supermarket checkout tape. It might have money-saving coupons on the back. Aquarius Enterprises in California is selling ad space on the back of register tapes in many metropolitan areas; and the novel idea is spreading across the country to Massachusetts and Florida.
For $640, an advertiser can have a 2-by-2-inch ad reverse-imprinted in one color on continuous checkout tape 250,000 times. Company executives say the biggest users at present are local businesses which offer cents-off discounts - typically pizza shops, ice cream parlors, and haircut salons.
Supermarkets stipulate that advertising on their tapes must promote only items or services that don't compete with in-store products or policies. For internal security reasons, they do not use tapes to advertise any of their own products or services at a discount.
Businesses that become users of reverse-ad tapes receive their tape supplies at no cost - an obvious operational saving. Marketing analysts claim the new idea is effective as an advertising tool, because these tapes pinpoint specific services at reduced prices.