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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

City Museum's New Box-A-Robot Toy: PR Fail, or Best Marketing Ever?

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Been on the City Museum website lately?

Seen the rotating ad for the new robot thingie?

click to enlarge The Rock Em Sock Em Robotos. No risk of head injuries here. - COURTESY OF CITY MUSEUM
  • Courtesy of City Museum
  • The Rock Em Sock Em Robotos. No risk of head injuries here.
Such a tease!

Now here's a timely question: Having been rolled out roughly two weeks ago, right about the moment that City Museum and its founder Bob Cassilly were settling a lawsuit in which a brain-damaged Kansas kid demanded damages for a head injury sustained at the museum, would you say Cassilly's latest "adult toy" (and we mean that in the least sexual way possible) is a) a really good idea b) a really great idea c) or truly awesome marketing?

Rick Erwin, the museum's director, tells Daily RFT that the robots are not quite life-size -- more like three-feet tall. You don't exactly get to punch their lights out. Rather, you control a lever that makes the robot hurl and block punches.

click to enlarge WWW.CITYMUSEUM.ORG
So, the idea here is really to bring along the person whose lights you want to knock out, take 'em up to the third floor and ding-ding-ding have at it, sort of Second Life-style.

Erwin says that in their prior life, the metallic robots were promotional items toted to bars by Bacardi. The museum acquired them about a year ago and recently set them up. "They've been a huge hit," says Erwin. "The first day we put them out there was maybe an hour-long line to get in there for three rounds."

And the timing, as far as the lawsuit is concerned? Pure coincidence. As Erwin puts it, "There'll always be lawsuits, anywhere."

Gonna go with c) truly awesome marketing.

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