Richard Deutch, an electrical engineer and former chiropractor, has come up with an invention that looks like a hockey puck with mesh wings, is sensitive to changes in light and has a tendency to go off with even the slightest bit of movement, which can prompt red flashing lights, crunchy guitar chords and a commercial announcement.
The most notable detail, however, is its intended placement: in the urinals of public restrooms.
Dr. Deutsch’s marketing creation, the Wizmark, which he calls an “interactive urinal communicator,” is one of several new technologies to have intruded into the men’s room.
At the National Basketball Association finals in Detroit this year, liquid-activated urinal mats proclaimed “Beat L.A.” One Minneapolis-based firm, AllOver Media, has installed 15-inch liquid-crystal-display screens above urinals in Minneapolis and Indianapolis, and plans to do so soon in Manhattan.
In a media-saturated world, advertisers have apparently seized one of the last frontiers. Once the advertising pitch begins, “let’s face it, there’s no place to go,” Dr. Deutsch said in an interview at his house and workshop here. “You literally have a captive audience.”
Dr. Deutsch has enlisted two major customers for his creation: Viacom, which plans to deploy the devices in bars in the next few weeks to promote Country Music Television, and Molson, the Canadian brewer, which is using them in several cities in Quebec.