Friday, March 30, 2007

Use innovation by a naive, eccentric, absent-minded professor

Use innovation involves customers finding a use for a product that was not initially intended by the inventor or manufacturer. It was found, for example, back in the old days before the advent of Campbell's "chunky" soups, that many consumers would, on their own, add "substance"--such as frozen vegetables or more meat--to the old cans of condensed soup.

Today, I was reading a student paper that involved beer pong balls. Supposedly, these would be used in a game--seemingly a very messy one--in which two teams would compete on who could first get a ball into each of the opposing team's cups. Yes, marketing this type of product raises some ethical issues, but before I could even get that far, I had to see what these looked like. I first did a Google image search, but most of the pictures did not show balls actually being thrown. Therefore, I went to Youtube to see some video footage of this game. Interestingly, both the two clips I saw featured hip hop music in the background. I realize that a sample of two is not much, but is it only urban, cool people--and not country bumpkins--who play this? Who ever dreamed of the idea that Youtube could be used for serious academic work?

On the ethical issue, anything that encourages drinking is rather suspect. However, I wonder if the amount of time spent on this game--which appears to confine the beer cups to a table--reduces the time left for drinking. Also, of course, we would have to hope that a lot of beer is splashed from the cups and thus not drunk. Better yet, I would hope that students would use this game with--and drink only--alcohol free beer. ("Yes," I can just hear some people say, "keep dreaming!")

1 comment:

polipe said...

I wonder if there has been a systematic investigation of the common
characteristics of drinking games. They probably boil down to providing a
pathway to stupor, someone usually has to drink with each loss.