Look Who’s Talking Now

Advanced Information Systems in Bay City, Mich., is offering a new twist on nontraditional media placements. The company has patented a dime-sized computer chip that is installed on gas pump nozzles and “talks” to customers while they fill their tank.
The Fueling Talker greets customers with a 10-second message and then delivers four 20-second product ads. The service is free to gas stations, and advertisers pay for ad time at as many locations as they wish.
So far the technology has been installed in over 150 gas stations across Michigan, said Mark McKinley, the company’s chief executive officer. More than 300 stations have signed up across the state and will be using the chips within the next several months. The program rolls out to Chicago, California, Georgia and the East Coast during the summer. AIS expects it to be operating nationwide by early 1999, McKinley said.
Current advertisers include car washes, local car dealerships, radio stations, an insurance company and a mortgage company, as well as the gas stations themselves. AIS is negotiating a deal with the Michigan State Lottery.
–Tanya Gazdik