Commentary

DO At The Water-Cooler -- Literally

There's no more primal desire than thirst, so there's pretty much a guaranteed audience for Splash, the newest product from Aquamedia Advertising, a Spanish digital out-of-home advertising company based in Barcelona: it's basically a fancy water dispenser with three built-in 42-inch LCD displays, one per side (except for the back of the unit), plus a 23-inch touchscreen offering all sorts of interactive possibilities.

Aquamedia says that it will produce digital video ads (in the ten-to-20-second range) for advertisers that are contextually appropriate for the cooler and its surroundings; that's just about the length of time it takes to fill a disposable cup with water, drink it, and throw it away, giving advertisers access to a (semi-)captive audience. Aquamedia takes care of installation and monitoring, and also records customer behavior so advertisers can view the response rates. The units run on an AOpen digital engine using Admira software.

So far the water-cooler units are only available in Spain, but it's not unreasonable to expect they might be available stateside before too long -- maybe through a tie-up with Cemusa, a Spanish outdoor advertising company that's digital-friendly and already has New York City's street furniture advertising contract, as well as branches in Boston and Miami.

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Meanwhile, water-coolers aren't the only food and beverage dispensers to get the digital out-of-home treatment. Last year I wrote about vending machine kiosks created by Unilever for its "Share Happy" campaign, which use facial recognition technology to determine if someone is smiling -- then give them an ice cream if they smile enthusiastically enough.

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