Sunday, May 3, 2009

Interactive Digital TV for the "Barfly" Generation..!?

Barfly is a glossy marketing tool, played out on interactive displays, designed to entice bar patrons to drink even more, as you can see from the demo. I'm older than the target age group of 21-34 that the Barfly Network is seeking to reach, but I can see the point.

I wonder how the concept - minus the alcohol - would play out in a neighborhood Internet cafe or sandwich shop, the sort of places I frequent....

What Is Barfly (demo)
(Warning: The demo provides glimpses of sports violence, skin, and alcohol advertisements, which are topics that aren't on my list of interests...)

One problem I have is that the concept still looks like it is a huge interactive billboard, pushing product, but with interactivity, allowing the potential consumers a little bit of control. In my opinion, the ads are like huge web banners and pop ups, but the consumers can't zap them away if they find them annoying.

Here is some information from the website:
"Barfly converts existing television screens in bars into engaging interactive systems for entertainment and advertising.


  • Barfly provides a mechanism for companies to advertise to 21-34 year-olds on television screens in bars
  • Barfly introduces the culture of digital technology and interactivity into the bar environment
  • Barfly delivers for beverage companies at the Point of Purchase, Influence & Consumption (POPIC) in a new and persuasive way"*
  • Full control over the entire video screen of every TV connected to Barfly Interactive Networks
    Full motion capable in all sections of screen
    Live video from any source feeds into existing displays
  • Turn your existing television into digital signage for:
    Food and Drink Specials
    Live Music Schedules
    Hours of Operation
    Special Events
  • Generates revenue with Barfly's menu of creative and interactive SMS text messaging games
  • Enhances the customer experience and increase bar patronage:
  • Engaging local and national content draws customer attention and encourages active participation
  • Enables bars to build on-site social networks "


*The other problem I have related to the "barfly" concept, geared to promoting increase alcohol consumption, stems from my personal experience as a school psychologist. I have training in the area of traumatic brain injury, so I am well aware of the statistics regarding the consequences of driving while drinking. I also have worked with a variety of children who have disabilities related to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), a consequence of a mother drinking during pregnancy.

I don't usually get on a soap box, but here's my 2 cents:

I'd like to see this technology used to transform public service ad campaigns that promote awareness of the consequence of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drinking while pregnant. But there is no immediate profit in this.

If you look at this in a different way, new technologies that result in a decrease the number of injuries sustained by auto accidents caused by drunk drivers, as well as a decrease in the number of babies born with disabilities, requiring expensive special education support throughout the formative years, will save millions in taxpayer's money in the long run. Oh, and lives.

1 comment:

Justin said...

I think you are the only person on the net that has brought this up...just out what i built.

www.homesafe.tv it's barfly with a conscious.