Jon de Vos – That’s just the cake talking |

Jon de Vos – That’s just the cake talking

The other day my wife says to me, “Why are you always writing about stupid horror movies? Nobody cares about them, why don’t you try writing about something different, you know, something interesting.”

“No . . . nobody cares?” I stared at her, stunned. How could she be so off base? How can she deny the world’s fascination with the cinematic development of postwar Bulgarian vampire-identification techniques? Or did she think the no-reflection-in-the-mirror phenomenon has always been in Hollywood’s bag of tricks? Not interested? Nobody cares? Who’s she think she’s kidding?

To evidence my ire, I went into my famous James Dean sulk, holding on to my pique until shortly before lunch. So, she wants something interesting, huh? OK, in bitter disappointment to my normal readers, today we will turn our attention to a topic currently on everyone’s lips, of course you’ve already surmised that I am referring to Talking Urinal Cakes.

The Wizmark, the world’s first, and probably for some time to come, the only, Talking Urinal Cake, is the brainchild of Richard Deutsch of New York’s Healthquest Technologies Inc., the company that makes these interactive advertising devices. Healthquest has aimed their target market to anti-drunk driving campaigns. The state of New Mexico, alarmed about its highway death toll, shelled out more than ten thousand bucks for 500 of the message-spouting urinal cakes, distributing them to drinking establishments in an attempt to get a grip on the problem.

Here’s how it works: a guy, presumably it would be a guy, steps up to the urinal and takes a . . . well, let’s just say he “activates” the Talking Urinal Cake. After a few seconds of abusive deluge, the T.U.C. announces in a sultry female voice, “Hey, big guy, having a few drinks? Think you had one too many? Then it’s time to call a cab or call a sober friend for a ride home.”

I don’t think it would matter whether I’d had a few drinks or not, if a urinal cake starts chatting me up, I will definitely ask someone for a ride home. Several bars reported the novelty items had already been stolen.

Not content to tread water with the splashing success of the T.U.C., Healthquest is hard at work on the I.U.C., the Interactive Urinal Communicator. Before your imaginations run amok, let me explain that the IUC is a waterproof (go figure) 4-inch video screen at eye level above the urinal providing lighted videos. Doggone it, I told you to hang on to your imaginations.

The ‘user’ would be subjected to short streams of advertisements while detained in front of the urinal.

The Wizmark Web site claims that, “actual daily use is your guarantee that each and every viewer is a potential customer whose eyes will not deviate from, nor be able to avoid an unhindered and focused viewing of your ad.”

Literature from Wizmark about the view screen says it’s the ideal way to advertise “men’s” products. Sure, but who needs another Ferrari?

The pamphlet continued that the technology is, “different from holograms, no special lighting is required for viewing the lenticular image flipping effect.” Gee, I hope they’re careful about that “flipping effect.”

Unfortunately, until Healthquest smooths out a few bumps, women will be denied the thrill of this interactive communication but I’m sure they’re working on it.

Hang onto those imaginations.

– Critical comments are personally shredded by Jon de Vos’ pet rat, Willard, who writes this column. Send them to