You’re in for a Traffic Safety Message
From America's boundless well of ingenuity, traffic safety officials and a Maryland company have teamed up provide the latest in anti-drunken driving technology: talking urinal cakes.
Say what? At least two states, Michigan and New Mexico, have used federal funds to provide brightly colored odor eaters to bars and restaurants at no cost. When a man steps up to the urinal, a friendly female voice chirps up with "Listen up. That's right, I'm talking to you. Had a few drinks? Maybe a few too many? Then do yourself and everyone else a favor: Call a sober friend or a cab. Oh, and don't forget to wash your hands."
The Wizmark (get it?) Interactive Urinal Communicator is the brainchild of Healthquest Technologies Inc., whose other products include the Plantomatic, which automatically spins hanging plants to even out sun exposure. The firm touts the Wizmark as "an original killer application for many product promotions."
"While this message isn't new, the method of delivery certainly is," said Michael Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. "Not only do we want to turn some heads and get people talking, we hope everyone takes the message to heart."
Drinkeries in four Michigan counties recently got the talking urinal cakes as part of a July 4 drunken driving crackdown. Nothing for the ladies so far, though. Four out of five alcohol-related fatalities involve drinking male drivers, and men are arrested for the offense at nearly three times the rate for women.
While this is clearly material for News of the Weird, target marketing at places where people drive to drink makes a lot of sense.