Checkout divider blinking


It’s not enough that our senses are assaulted by impulse items lined up near the supermarket checkout. Now, companies want to advertise to us at the checkout, too. In some stores, you’ll find TV monitors overhead, broadcasting commercials to you. Other stores have placed decals on the floor, billboards at the end of your shopping cart, and even advertisements on the conveyor belt.

And now, it seems, the next frontier in advertising is those little dividers you stick in between your stuff and someone else’s at the checkout.

Low-tech printed ads on dividers are nothing new, but one company is looking to give them a high-tech twist. The Swedish company Motion Display has announced the launch of what it calls “a new generation checkout divider with unique opportunities for effective in-store advertising.”

The battery-powered “Motion e-bar” checkout divider displays animated ads that blink and flash in an effort to capture your attention. “Our built-in reptile instinct forces us to react to unexpected movement,” proclaims a Motion Display promotional video that’s either oddly written, or poorly translated from the original Swedish (“reptile instinct”?)


“In a simple but yet effective way, it reaches all the store’s customers,” said Motion Display’s Martin Skoog. “The customer even has to actually touch the promotional material.”

It’s advertising that you can’t ignore, unless you don’t mind your groceries mingling with those of the person in front of you. Or unless you can successfully resist that built-in reptile instinct of yours.

But how effective will it be? Similar to another recent promotional innovation, the grocery bags with coupons stuck to them, the “Motion e-bars” are advertising to a customer who’s already in the process of checking out. Will an irresistible ad or coupon send you scurrying back into the aisles, abandoning your cart at the checkout, in order to buy whatever’s being pitched to you? Or will the ads be so memorable, that whatever is flashing at you from the checkout divider will be stuck in your head the next time you’re in the store?

For marketers desperate to get our attention among all the clutter, contributing to the clutter may be the only way to do it.

There’s just one thing about those flashing, blinking, high-tech checkout dividers. “All I have to say,” writes a commenter and former grocery cashier on the tech site Gizmodo, “is that they better be industrial strength or they’re not going to last very long.”

And for couponers, if something is going to blink at you incessantly while you shop – it had better spit out a coupon. Otherwise, you probably won’t have much need for these newfangled checkout dividers, or any checkout dividers for that matter. Once they see all your coupons – no one is going to want to get in line behind you anyway.

One Comment

  1. If it blinks and doesn’t spit out a coupon, I am simply not interested. Besides that, I am a focused couponer with no interest in mucking about.

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