Diageo’s Virtual Bartender

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

To all intents and purposes this is an end cap / retail kiosk but Diageo have made a bit of a splash about it (the name is kinda clever) in the US.

There’s a picture of the fixture itself over at one of the worst, old fashioned web sites we have recently seen – see Diageo’s incredibly appalling attempt at user interaction at http://askthevirtualbartender.com/

Anyway, the “Virtual Bartender” is a wireless touchscreen computer with a 32-inch LCD screen that, so we are told lets shoppers search for drink recipes, tricks of the trade and party planning tips!

There is an attached thermal printer which allows customers to print. Diageo have built the device into semi-permanent displays carrying their premium brands.

Diageo began using the Virtual Bartender in February 2007, and started rolling it out nationally in the US in 2008.

Paul Warren, trade marketing off-premise manager for the spirits maker told us that it gives Diageo “the opportunity to provide retailers and consumers education and party planning solutions in an interactive, entertaining and user-friendly way. This state-of-the-art merchandising vehicle is an exciting communication link for our customers at the point of purchase and continues to drive Diageo’s innovation platform,”

We think that the look, design, in fact everything about it (apart from its name and purpose in life) is horrible – take a look at the picture yourself and make up your own mind.

Compare it with how it could have been done, say the Artisan nCap fixure which we like.

Retailers receive the displays for free (Diageo rents them from Digital Aisle – the Woodridge, IL firm that designs and manufactures the units).

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