Tuesday, 15.08.

Bringing together beer and pool with the Stones BOT

For too long, advertising agencies have been stuck in an advertising silo, working as a supplier on what can be a long, complicated, and costly chain. Briefs are handed over, ideas are exchanged, and advertising campaigns are produced.

But the times, they have a-changed. And advertising agencies are no longer in the business of advertising - at least, they shouldn’t be, if they want to survive.

“It is our job, as a partner in our clients’ businesses, to provide them with solutions to business problems. At Publicis Machine, we view our role as much broader than pure ‘advertising’, because advertising isn’t always the answer,” says Publicis Machine Group Executive Creative Director Gareth McPherson.

The recently-launched Stones BOT, conceptualised by Publicis Machine, is a perfect example.

Stones is South Africa’s largest pool hall chain, with 14 locations across the country. While the coin-operated pool tables might pull in the crowds, it’s alcohol sales, more specifically the alcohol brand promotions that bring in the revenue.

The problem is that brands are choosing to divert their promotional budgets to more contemporary venues. Stones approached Publicis Machine looking for a new promotional concept to attract brands back into its venues - something the public hadn’t seen before, and something that would actively encourage Stones customers to choose the promotional brand over their usual brand.

The solution came in the form of the Stones BOT, or Bottle Operated Table, which neatly combined the two primary elements of the Stones experience - pool and beer, rewarding customers for buying a specific brand with a free game of pool.

The team replaced the standard coin operating mechanism on a traditional pool tables with a custom-designed mechanism that holds a standard beer bottle, and uses a light dependent resistor to recognise the unique RGB signature of individual beverage bottles. In effect, this means that the BOT can ‘recognise’ individual brands. And these brands can then be used as ‘currency’ to ‘buy’ a game of pool.

All customers need do is buy the brand on promotion, place the bottle in the slot and enjoy their free game of pool.

Because the resistor can be calibrated to recognise specific brands, Stones can change the brand on promotion whenever required. The BOT tables can also be branded to increase exposure for the individual brands.

The Stones BOT has been successfully trialled by Hunters to promote Hunters Edge, and based on this initial success, Stones has several more of their own clients waiting in the wings.


Copywriter: PJ Eales

Art Director: Joshua Foster

Creative Director: PJ Eales/ Joshua Foster

Group Executive Creative Director: Gareth McPherson

Account management/Client Service: Jamie Rossiter

Dev Team: Johan Steyn, Gareth Cosens, Vanya Kruger, Richard Masefield



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