At a few BP locations starting today, people may actually enjoy filling up their tanks rather than simply tapping their toes in boredom. The petroleum retailer is rolling out an interactive gas pump called Miles, which offers voice instructions for activities such as listening to tunes, social media sharing, video ecards and trivia.
BP partnered with digital music player Pandora and The Onion—which developed Miles' playful voice/audio persona as part of a larger sponsorship—to provide content to customers. The smart pump will appear at two Brooklyn, N.Y., locations and one in Chicago through Feb. 14. BP, which has shown a willingness to play with emerging tech for a number of years, will determine whether to expand the pilot program based on consumer response after that juncture.
Using a touch screen, Donna Sanker, chief marketing officer of BP Fuels North America, explained, "you can select what genre of music you want to listen to." And customers can have have Miles send a Pandora link to their phone to continue listening to the artist after they drive away.
Customers can use the same touch screen to record video or take pictures of themselves. Depending on the kind of music selected, they can utilize a Snapchat-like filter to use on the pic or clip and then send media to their phones. From there, they are encouraged to share the content on social platforms.
And if none of those pastimes interest you, Sanker said, "you can do a trivia quiz while pumping your gas."
To be clear, Miles' voice capabilties are one-way instructive, designed to encourage customers to partake in the activities via the touch screen. One cannot, in other words, converse with the gas pump thanks to artificial intelligence.
Ogilvy, BP Fuels' agency, helped create the endeavor. Check out the brand's video for Miles below.