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Saturday, Jun 25, 2022

Sticker Shock?

A Culver City startup is hoping to conquer one of the last places on Earth not yet plastered with advertisements: the cardboard box.

Zadspace Inc. makes print ads that are stuck on packages shipped by Internet retailers and catalog companies. Co-founder Todd Outten believes the appeal is simple at a time when many advertisers are exploring new media.

“It’s fresh, and it’s uncluttered. I mean, it’s a brown box,” said Outten, who serves as president.

Among the advertisers that have used its service are satellite television provider DirecTV Group, Nestle’s Arrowhead Water and Internet telephone company Vonage.

Zadspace splits advertising revenue with ad distributors, which the company won’t name but claims are some of the biggest online retailers, catalogers and infomercial producers around.

Though the concept is simple, the technology behind it is anything but. Zadspace has proprietary software that targets ads to the retail buyers. For example, a consumer who lives near a supermarket might receive an ad for that establishment, or an ad for a local cable service provider.

The company also has developed a machine it provides to retailers. The device tracks the packages and prints out the 4-inch-by-6-inch ads on stickers, which are affixed by workers.

“A lot of people think this sort of thing is done by robots, but it’s mainly human labor,” Outten said.

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