Look Who’s Talking

A milk carton cries as you go by. A bag of cookies bets that you bite a chip. A hot dog says, “Bite me!” It’s not something from David Lynch. It may be your local supermarket.

Someday, anyway. ConAgra has started the madness with its Parkay Talking Tub, the hot topic among those proud point-of-pur chase audio philes. As unsus pecting shoppers (500 million of them, Parkay hopes) walk down grocery aisles, motion sensors on some tubs will cause them to blurt out: “The label says Parkay, the flavor says butter.” Other tubs are triggered when opened to let you know you’ve won a prize.

Since it’s had a talking tub in ads, Parkay gets away with this. But others might want to be seen and not heard, warns Lori Halivop oulos of Frank N. Magid Associates, an analyst firm. “Most people want to get in and get out without much distraction,” she says. “We’ve had in-store radio and talking shopping carts, and it’s not clear how successful they were. And if you have multiple products all literally talking at once, people are going to try to ignore it.” K

What would be an ideal talking product, and what would it say? Let us know and we might just print it as our next quote of the week, fancy artist rendering of you and all. E-mail tnudd@adweek.com.