I will stick with my money-spinning idea

LORNA MARSH A Norfolk businessman has hit upon a unique marketing ploy that is money-spinning in more ways than one. Mark Streeter, owner of Courtesy Taxis in Norwich, is taking advantage of the huge captive audience enjoyed by the change that lurks in wallets and tills - by putting the name of his business on thousands of pound coins.

LORNA MARSH

A Norfolk businessman has hit upon a unique marketing ploy that is money-spinning in more ways than one.

Mark Streeter, owner of Courtesy Taxis in Norwich, is taking advantage of the huge captive audience enjoyed by the change that lurks in wallets and tills - by putting the name of his business on thousands of pound coins.

Mr Streeter is making his mark by placing small stickers with his company name and number on the tail side of the coins along with an advertisement for their call-back service.

He said he dreamt up the ploy after hearing about an idea for stamping tokens with advertisements and thought he could quite easily produce the same effect with temporary advertisements on the change his drivers give to customers.

The easily peelable bright yellow stickers are entirely legal and Mr Streeter thinks his idea could spark many more coin adverts. So far about 10,000 have been printed up, although not all are in circulation and Mr Streeter said the feedback already was good.

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"The circulation of a pound coin is huge so they are definitely getting noticed. We have had people come up and ask us, it is more of a verbal thing at the moment though. It's too early to say whether it has had an effect on trade but it is definitely a talking point."

Mr Streeter said he made sure before he went ahead with the idea that the stickers were not illegal as they did not deface the coin.

And the only difficulty in having them accepted was when one driver tried to pay for his parking with one in Swansea.

However, while a spokesman for the Royal Mint confirmed there was nothing illegal about the practice he did say that it was not approved of.

"There are practical reasons why we would discourage stickers on coins. They could get stuck in vending machines and might be difficult for elderly or visually impaired people to identify.

"Currency is also something we should be proud of and not degrade," he said.

But Mr Streeter said the ploy was not disrespectful. "We only put the stickers on the tail side of the coins so they do not cover the Queen and it is all just a bit of a giggle really. The response we have had has been really good."

The company will also soon be adding to its collection of freephone booth sites with the first taxi freecall point in Castle Mall in Norwich.