Adages: New pit-stop touch point for brand messaging hits the mark

By Published on .

Dr. Richard Deutsch dropped by our offices last week to demonstrate a marketing tool he is unveiling to the world this week-the Wizmark. "An interactive urinal communicator," is how The Wizmark.com site describes the device. "A fully functional deodorizing urinal screen with the ability to automatically talk back, sing or flash a subtle promotional message when presented with a captive audience opportunity." This is no simple plastic urinal cake cover with an ad on it.

"Obviously, this delivers a very targeted message," said Dr. Deutsch, who is no relation to Donny Deutsch, the adman. "It's a superior, distraction-proof, attention-grabbing thing."

Dr. Deutsch offers several Wizmark models through his company, Healthquest Technologies. There's a "lenticular flip" version with a waterproof, anti-glare screen that changes images. Next, an "electronic display" variety with a motion detector that triggers flashing little lights around a brand image safely nestled behind a waterproof shield. Finally, there's a state of the art "voice and sound" model with a microprocessor sensor activating an "audible enunciator" that shouts out slogans and jingles.

"For really customized messages, I also have a patent for radio-frequency identification devices that can read your company ID card," said Dr. Deutsch. "So, it can actually greet you personally: `Hey, Frank!"'

Dr. Deutsch, a retired chiropractor turned inventor, is convinced that his marketing tool will capture the undivided attention of the elusive young male demographic. "Wizmarks will last about 20,000 cycles, depending on the conditions," said the doc. They cost from $3.60 to $10 for the deluxe model.

A mighty wind

Asics' Tiger running shoes is bottling the exhalations of huffing and puffing athletes and marketing it as "Hero breath."

"We had former Olympic gold medalists breathe into hermetically sealed bags," explains Scott Goodson, co-founder and creative director of Amsterdam-based ad shop StrawberryFrog. The contents were then taken to Europe and canned. "They will be marketed this spring and summer as the only performance-enhancing drug allowed at the Olympic Games," says Scott.

Check out the canned goods at subtitled Japanese site tokyo64.com. It shows a Japanese man who presumably won his 1964 medal in Tiger shoes puffing into a bag, and ends with the unique selling proposition "Contains winning athlete breath for instant glory." Let's hope he wasn't eating garlic.

Heavy breathing

Adages managed to get its hands on an advance copy of the April Fools' issue of Dennis Publishing's Maxim. On the cover: sexy Marge Simpson, Homer's long-suffering spouse and nobody's fool. An alternate issue features the real fool on the cover: Paris Hilton. Inside both issues, a few phony ads that couldn't fool anyone, unless you're a Maxim subscriber.

Hell's Bell

Ads imitate life? Jeff Bell, the Chrysler and Jeep veep chief, is hobbling around on crutches these days. Someone kicked him in the shins and broke one of his bones. No, it wasn't because the feisty marketer had offended anyone. A teammate on his indoor soccer team whacked him by mistake during a game. The injury came as Jeep was readying a TV spot, dubbed "Murphy's Law," poking fun at guy named Murphy who narrowly avoids slapstick pratfalls. But of course he rides away from truly crippling dangers in his Grand Cherokee. Mr. Bell's boss is George Murphy, who is not on crutches.

Contributing: Jean Halliday, Laurel Wentz Replies rlinnett@crain.com. Please, no hot air.

In this article:
Most Popular