Sunday, January 29, 2006

And You Thought Check-Out TV was Annoying

Those LCD-panel televisions at the grocery store check-out line were only the first step in a strategy to video-fy your shopping experience.

What's next? ShelfAds -- tiny video players that show commercials as you walk down an aisle. With iPod-sized video screens, they will be positioned right beside the products advertised. By playing only when you pass, they won't be tuned out by shoppers like in-store ads that play continuously. But wait, there's more:

Mr. McGinnis said the system has also been built to integrate RFID technologies and could one day dispense aromas as well. “If you are in the bread aisle, you could release the aroma of fresh-baked bread,” he said.
And when you walk down the diaper aisle... okay, bad idea. (Note: the preceding joke was originally about lutefisk. Then the focus groups showed that not enough people know what lutefisk is, but everyone knows toilet humor. And no, lutefisk is not a Norwegian rapper who hates Bill O'Reilly -- that's Ludafisk.)

These are like child simulators -- you'll be looking at cereal, and one of these obnoxious ShelfAds will call out, "Mommy, I want Apple Jacks!" Okay, not exactly -- a 10-second commercial for Apple Jacks will play instead (for what it's worth, Apple Jacks were never the same for me after they introduced the green Os).

Call me a weirdo, but I love grocery shopping. Why? Because I do it in the middle of the night when no one is around to bug me or get in my way. ShelfAds will encroach on my 2 AM "quiet time" at the grocery store. I can assure you that products advertised in this manner will be less likely to land in my shopping cart. Sheesh, just let me shop in peace!

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