Advertisers capture the blank photocopy sheet

By Poojya Trivedi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 11, 2010
Four students have conceptualised an advertising platform, to make use of the blank side of the A4 sheet for advertisements. These ads are aimed at students in the age-group of 18-24 years

The white sheet that's used for photocopying will no longer be blank. Advertisers have taken over even this space, thanks to an IITian, Harsh Narang, who is still in his final year.

Narang and three other students -- Pranav Mohan and Rohan Anand from Delhi University and Navjot Kukreja from BITS-Pilani -- have together conceptualised this advertising platform, which they call 'Phokatcopy'. The platform is aimed at students in the age-group of 18-24 years, who spend a lot on photocopying notes. The idea is to make use of the blank side of the A4 sheet for advertisements.

It works like this: If a student gets a photocopy done in any of the selected outlets on a PhokatCopy sheet, he gets a card worth Rs 10 (he pays Rs 10 for 20 sheets of photocopy at the rate of 50 paise per sheet). He can then reimburse these cards for different goodies or gifts.

"If a student wants to redeem his points for talk-time, he is not restricted to any single service provider. We buy talk-time from all service providers, so that there is no compulsion on students," says Narang.

It is a win-win situation for the photocopy outlets as well. Normally, the photocopier has to pay around Rs 120 for 500 sheets; but PhokatCopy delivers the sheets -- pre-printed on one side with advertisements -- at the rate of Rs 20 for 500 sheets.

PhokatCopy, in turn, charges Rs 625 for 500 sheets from the advertisers for distributing these sheets. The printed ad pages are also supplied by the advertisers.

So, for every 500 sheets, PhokatCopy gets around Rs 645; of this, it has to give out goodies worth Rs 250 to the end user. Thus, it earns around Rs 325 per 500 sheets. Since it claims to exhaust around 6 lakh sheets a month, its monthly income turns out to be Rs 4 lakh.

"I'd get about 1,000 pages photocopied every year, and that's when the idea of Phokatcopy struck me," says Narang. He entered the idea for a business plan competition in IIT-Delhi, which helped him formulate the intricacies of the model. And from there began the journey of Phokatcopy - 'Photocopy, phokat main'.

Remember, this is no child's play, as PhokatCopy has already roped in 10 youth brands, including the likes of Fastrack, Cafe Coffee Day, Vodafone, Nirula's and Apple, as advertisers.

The company is also in talks with WB and Nestlé. "Once our tie-up with Nestlé is done, students will be able to redeem the money at the counter itself, by buying KitKat or Munch, which are also available with the photocopiers," says an excited Narang.

Phokatcopy has so far tied up with over 30 colleges in Delhi. It now plans to extend the same scheme to other cities, such as Mumbai, Pune, Manipal and Ahmedabad.

© 2010 afaqs!