Dick Enrico's friendly grin may be the best-known face in Twin Cities bathrooms. Enrico, who is the chief executive of fitness-equipment retailer 2nd Wind Exercise, is the star of advertising posters in more than 400 restrooms locally. We asked him what it's like to be the face of bathroom ads.
Q What do you say to people who wouldn't think of selling their products in restrooms?
A I think it's one of the best-kept secrets out there. Here's the issue, in the minds of advertisers who don't utilize it: They perceive restrooms as being beneath their dignity. My rebuttal to that is this: You show me a customer that doesn't need to use the restroom and chances are he's a candidate for the Welander Quist funeral home. I don't care if you're the president of the United States, at some point you will have to use the restroom.
Q Do you ever get recognized in public restrooms?
A It happens all the time. I can tell you a funny story. For years I've dominated the restrooms at the State Fair. I'm in every restroom. So a couple years ago I'm walking the grounds and the call came for myself personally, so I go to the closest men's restroom and the place is packed -- I mean packed. And I look up and every single ad in there is one of myself. Rarely do I feel intimidated or uncomfortable but I felt uncomfortable. So I wait my turn and muscle in up next to the trough. So I'm looking straight ahead at myself and so is everybody else. And I can just feel the energy in these two dudes on each side of me. So the dude on the left finishes up sooner and he spins around, and he's so damn excited he can hardly wait to tell his wife.
Q How lucrative is restroom advertising for 2nd Wind?
A It's hard to measure. We have an adage, though: When you're everywhere you don't have to be anywhere. And we're everywhere.