Well, thank goodness for that: urination-based digital out-of-home media got a vote of confidence with the announcement that Captive Media, a British startup that operates interactive displays linked to urinals in men’s restrooms, has raised $700,000 of funding to help expand its network.
Captive Media delivers advertising along with games and quizzes to 12-inch LCD displays above urinals in the restrooms of nightlife venues, which can be controlled via infrared sensors that detect the direction of a customer’s micturation (yes, that’s a fancy word that means “urination”). The game screen automatically activates whenever an individual approaches the urinal; to play, the visitor just directs his urine stream to a sticker in the urinal which says “start.” Other stickers, reading “left” and “right,” allow the player to direct the game play; games include “shooting” targets, a digital skiing game, and quizzes.
Players who are proud of their high urinal game scores can share their scores with others on Facebook and Twitter via mobile devices; scores are also stored online so champion urinal games players can compete with each other at a national level.
While modest by online startup standards, this round of funding could actually go a long way towards bringing Europe to the forefront of pee-controlled games, since the technology is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t require any major modifications to the urinals. According to Captive execs, the system has already been installed in the restrooms of eight venues across Europe, and has delivered over a million game impressions since it launched in late 2011. Captive is also hoping to introduce (non urine-based) versions of the digital displays near hand-dryers in women’s bathrooms, to help pass the time while waiting in line
And although there are obviously many advertisers who will probably eschew this particular brand adjacency, it’s a natural choice for beverage brands looking to (wait for it) make a splash. According to Captive, a number of brands have run campaigns on its network, including Heineken, Corona, and Pepsi, among others.