US20060189372A1 - System and method to promote the consumption of products within an establishment - Google Patents

System and method to promote the consumption of products within an establishment Download PDF

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US20060189372A1
US20060189372A1 US11342430 US34243006A US2006189372A1 US 20060189372 A1 US20060189372 A1 US 20060189372A1 US 11342430 US11342430 US 11342430 US 34243006 A US34243006 A US 34243006A US 2006189372 A1 US2006189372 A1 US 2006189372A1
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customer
game
ticket
entertainment
system
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US11342430
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Ian Westrup
Luis Gonzalez
Mark Westrup
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Westrup Ian L W
Gonzalez Luis D P
Westrup Mark C W
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination

Abstract

A system and method to promote the consumption of one or more sponsored products or brands of products within an establishment. The system provides and integrated system to track the consumption of sponsored products, control the various entertainment devices in the establishment, and to interact with customers. The system promotes the consumption of one or more sponsored products by rewarding the consumption of sponsored products with prizes, gifts, and opportunities to participate in games of chance.

Description

  • This application claims priority from U.S. Application No. 60/713,077 filed Sep. 1, 2005 and incorporates by reference the '077 application as if it were fully printed herein. This application also claims priority from U.S. Application No. 60/648,217 filed Jan. 28, 2005 and incorporates by reference the '217 application as if it were fully printed herein.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a system and method to promote the consumption of one or more sponsored products or brands of products within an establishment. More particularly, the present invention relates to a system and method to promote the consumption of one or more sponsored products by rewarding the consumption with prizes, gifts, and opportunities to participate in games of chance.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • It is well known to promote the sale and consumption of products via printed or broadcast advertisements; for example, printed advertisements in newspapers, magazines and the like, and broadcast advertisement on television and radio. Such printed advertisements may include coupons for the consumer to cut out and use to obtain a discount when next purchasing the advertised product.
  • An inherent weakness of each of these methods of promotions is that, over a short period of time, the consumer may either forget to cut out the coupon from the newspaper or magazine, may misplace the coupon, or may simply forget to bring the coupon along to the next purchase opportunity.
  • It is also known that promotional games of many types are utilized in bars, taverns, restaurants, casinos, and other public and private establishments. In bars, taverns, and like places, interactive games are typically provided on bar tops, side tables, and other areas. These games typically include a video screen and buttons or other controls for the player to influence objects and events portrayed on the video screen. Common bar-top games include card games (e.g., poker, blackjack, solitaire, etc.), quiz games, sports games, and the like. Bar-top games typically provide a score based on the player's performance during the game, and may also provide a high score list which provides incentives for players to perform well.
  • In game arcades, convenience stores, and the like, games that require more involvement by the user are often offered, such as stand-up arcade video games, pinball games, and mechanical or carnival games. Some of these types of games are offered as redemption games which dispense redemption tickets to players based on player performance during the game and/or a game score achieved by the player. In these games, a player may exchange the dispensed redemption tickets for prizes available at a prize display area, such as a prize booth or prize vending machine, where such prizes as stuffed animals, models, other toys, small music devices, T-shirts, food, etc. are available. Each prize has an associated cost or “price” in terms of redemption tickets which the player can pay to redeem the prize. A player may collect tickets over time to save up for larger prizes that may have higher ticket prices.
  • This type of promotional game, while possibly increasing traffic in a particular establishment, does nothing to promote a particular product or brand of products because participation is not connected to the consumption of a product.
  • Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide a system and method which promotes the consumption of one or more sponsored products by rewarding that consumption with prizes, gifts, opportunities to participate in games of chance, and opportunities to control the environment (e.g., temperature, music, video) of the establishment. A customer is induced into the consumption of sponsored products through promotions, entertainment on demand, and through games of chance in which discounts and promotions are awarded and applied to future purchases of the sponsored products.
  • Another object of the present invention is to provide a system and method which promotes extended visits to an establishment. Extended visits are promoted by allowing a customer who has purchased a sponsored product to participate in raffles, lotteries, or other games of chance which are scheduled to occur at a point in time beyond the purchase of the sponsored product.
  • Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a system and method which promotes the consumption of one or more sponsored products by rewarding that consumption with prizes, gifts, and opportunities to participate in games of chance wherein the award for consumption may be redeemed at a related establishment at a later date or time.
  • Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a system and method which regulates the display and announcement of advertising messages in an establishment.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with the invention, a system to promote the consumption of one or more sponsored products or brands of products within an establishment is provided which comprises at least one announcement device for communicating general information to customers within the establishment; a plurality of entertainment devices, for example, any electronic, electric, mechanical, or electromechanical device offered by an establishment to provide entertainment or environmental comfort to customers; at least one terminal for interacting with customers, the terminal comprising means for accepting input from a customer and means for presenting information to the customer; a billing module for controlling fees charged to the sponsor of the one or more products or brands of products; an advertisement module, in communicative contact with the billing module, for controlling the sequence, timing, and duration of advertisements displayed or announced on said announcement device; an accounting system, in communicative contact with the billing module, for documenting and tracking the purchase, sale, and consumption of sponsored products; an entertainment module, in communicative contact with the plurality of entertainment devices, for controlling the availability, access, sequence, scheduling, and duration of use of said entertainment devices; a game module for controlling the scheduling of and participation in lotteries or raffles and the selection of zero or more winners of said lotteries or raffles; a ticket module for controlling the creation opportunity tickets and game tickets; and a manager server, which functions as the central coordinator of the system of the present invention, in communicative contact with the at least one announcement device, the plurality of entertainment devices, the at least one terminal, the accounting system, the advertisement module, the ticket module, and the game module, said manager server managing communication between and among the at least once announcement device, the plurality of entertainment devices, the at least one terminal, the accounting system, the advertisement module, the ticket module, and the game module.
  • The system is further comprised of a number of repositories of stored information to track and schedule usage of the system. Among the repositories comprising the system is a promotion profile repository; a ticket repository; an advertisement repository; a game repository; entertainment device profile repository; a digital entertainment profile; a billing account repository; and a ticket repository.
  • The promotion profile repository is accessible by the accounting module. In the preferred embodiment, the promotion profile repository is a database within or accessible by the manager server. The promotion profile repository stores data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and is organized by sponsor. The promotion profile repository stores data element fields including one or more identity fields for the sponsors involved in a promotional or commercial campaign; one or more fields for the products or brands sponsored by a sponsor; and one or more fields defining the rules for rewarding the consumption of the sponsored product.
  • The ticket repository accessible by the ticket module and maintains a record of each opportunity ticket created, whether printed or not, by the system after the consumption of a sponsored product. In some embodiments, an opportunity ticket may be purchased directly from the establishment in addition to or even in the alternative to being offered as an incentive to purchase a sponsored product. The ticket repository includes, minimally, ticket data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized by ticket identifier and an identify field identifying the sponsor of the product purchased.
  • The game ticket repository is accessible by the game module and the ticket module. In the preferred embodiment, the game ticket repository is a database within or accessible by the manager server. The game ticket repository stores ticket data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized by a ticket number. The ticket repository stores data element fields including, minimally, the sponsor of the opportunity ticket with which the game ticket is associated, a code associated with the game ticket, the expiration date and time of the game ticket, and an identifier field for the lottery or raffle game with which the ticket is associated.
  • The advertisement repository is accessible by the advertisement module. In the preferred embodiment, the advertisement repository is a database within or accessible by the manager server. The advertisement repository stores advertisement data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized by sponsor. The advertisement repository stores data element fields including, minimally, one or more sponsors associated with the advertisement, one or more scheduling fields, one or more advertisement content fields, and one or more status fields.
  • The game repository is accessible by the game module. The game repository is a database storing data relating to the games of chance in which a customer may participate. The game repository stores data element fields including, minimally, one or more data fields to uniquely identify a lottery, raffle, or chance game, one or more scheduling fields, and the sponsor associated with the lottery, raffle, or chance game.
  • The entertainment device profile repository is accessible by the entertainment module. The entertainment device profile repository stores data about the available entertainment devices available to the system. The data element fields stored include, minimally, one or more identity fields to uniquely identify an entertainment device, an availability state field indicating the current availability state of the device, and one or more sponsors associated with the device.
  • The digital entertainment profile repository is accessible by the entertainment module. The digital entertainment profile is a repository of digital entertainment media available to be played on entertainment devices or, where appropriate, available for download to a user as a prize or reward. The data element fields include, minimally, one or more contents fields for the digital files indicating the contents of the digital file to be executed in an entertainment device, one or more identity fields for the sponsors associated with said digital files, and one or more identity fields for indicating the entertainment devices on which the digital entertainment may be played.
  • The billing account repository is accessible by the billing module. The billing account repository includes, minimally, billing data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized by sponsor, the data element fields including one or more sponsors and one or more billing account fields.
  • In some embodiments of the present invention, a kiosk will be available to the customer for the purpose of accepting input from the customer, displaying information to the customer, and allowing the customer to collect prizes, for example, downloading digital music files. The kiosk may accept input from the user via a keyboard, a touch screen, a bar code reader, a video scanner, a video camera, a microphone, a Personal Digital Assistant port, or an infra-red device.
  • Before the system is accessed by a customer, it must be configured. Configuration entails the creation of one or more promotions and storing information relating to those promotions in the promotion profile repository. Minimally, a promotion comprises the identity of a product or a brand of products the consumption of which will result in a reward of some sort being provided to the customer.
  • When a customer in an establishment purchases a product, the system determines whether the product purchased by the customer is the subject of a sponsored promotional campaign. This determination is made by searching for the product or the brand of the product in the promotion profile repository. If the product or brand of product is located in the promotion profile repository, the sale of the sponsored product is reported to the accounting system and the customer is issued a unique identifier that is related to the purchase of the product. Minimally, the unique identifier is visually presented to the customer. In some embodiments of the present invention, a printed receipt is created for the customer. A record of the unique identifier is stored in the ticket repository to permit access to the award system by the purchasing customer.
  • The customer uses the unique identifier to access the system through a terminal. In the preferred embodiment, the terminal is a standalone terminal with a touch screen to accept input from the use. In some embodiments the terminal may be housed in a kiosk and may accept input via a keyboard or other means. In still other embodiments, the system of the present invention is housed in one appliance. Upon entering the unique identifier into the terminal, the system validates the unique identifier to ensure that it is valid and that the user had not already received all of the benefits permitted under the identifier.
  • If the unique identifier is valid, the customer is presented with a menu comprising choices of award options available to the customer. Typical award options include access to video games, participation in lottery-type games of chance, selections of music or videos for play or download, and control over environmental devices such as air conditioners, televisions, and laser light shows.
  • Upon selection of one or more menu items by the customer, the customer's choices are transmitted to the manager server for processing which may include requesting more information from the customer. For example, if the customer has chosen to play a song as an award choice, the customer will be presented with a menu of the songs which are available to be played.
  • The customer's choices are recorded in the billing repository so that any appropriate charges may be billed to the appropriate sponsor of the purchased product. When the customer's choices are fulfilled or scheduled, a confirmation message is displayed to the customer.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 depicts a pictorial representation of an embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a flowchart of the processing performed by the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 is a flowchart of the method of the present invention when a customer has chosen to participate in one or more temporary lottery, raffle, or chance games.
  • FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating processing performed by the present invention to execute a scheduled lottery, raffle, or game of chance.
  • FIG. 5 is a flowchart of the method of the present invention when a customer has chosen to define one or more temporary environment entertainment profiles at the establishment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring to the figures in which like referenced features indicate corresponding elements throughout the several views, attention is first directed to FIG. 1 which depicts a pictorial representation of a system (10) to promote the consumption of one or more sponsored products or brands of products within an establishment. The system is comprised of manager server (20) which performs the logical and functional management services for the system. The manager server (20) is a process which is running on either a standalone computer or a computer which is shared for multiple purposes. The manager server (20) may be a process running on a standard, general-purpose computer or may run on a device that has been developed specifically for the task of running the manager server (20) process. The manager server (20) manages communication and allocation of resources between and among the various elements of the system (10).
  • Either directly or through the various intermediaries, the manager server (20) is in electronic communicative contact with the at least one announcement device (22), at least one entertainment device (24), at least one terminal (26), an accounting system (28), an advertisement module (30), a ticket module (32), a game module (34), and a billing module (42). The manager server (20) manages communication between and among the elements of the system (10). As stated, the manager server (20) may run on a standalone computer. In some embodiments, however, the system (10) may be comprised of single unit, such as a unitary kiosk; in which case the manager server (20) would be a process running on a shared computer. In other embodiments, although some elements of the system (10) may be separated one from another, the manager server (10) may share a computer or other resources with a subset of the elements of the system (10).
  • The accounting system (28) may coexist with the manager server (20) or, in some embodiments, may operate on a computer remote from the manager server (20). In some embodiments, the accounting system (28) may also be geographically remote from the manager server (20). The accounting system (28) is primarily responsible for the administration, supervision, validation, and tracking aspects of the purchases, sales, requests and respective inventories of products in the establishment. Upon the sale of a product in the establishment, the accounting system (28) searches a promotion profile repository (44) to determine whether the product sold is the subject of a current promotion.
  • The promotion profile repository (44) is a database, in electronic communication with the accounting system (28), which contains information related to the products and respective sponsors involved in a promotional or commercial campaign. Minimally, the promotion profile repository (44) maintains information relating to one or more products or brands of products, the sponsors that are sponsoring the one or more products or brands of products, and the details of the promotion involving the products or brands of products. The details of the promotion may include a percentage discount on a subsequent product, a prize, an opportunity to participate in a lottery-type game, an opportunity to control the operation of an entertainment device (24), or any other reward which would encourage a customer to purchase a sponsored product. The promotion profile repository (44) may reside on a standalone computer or may share a computer with the other elements of the system (10).
  • The manager server (20) incorporates a ticket generator (36) which controls the creation of logical tickets and regulates the printing of physical tickets (38 a and 38 b). A logical ticket is termed an opportunity ticket (46) in the system (10) of the present invention and is a unique identifier which identifies the sale of a sponsored product and regulates the rewards which are available. In the preferred embodiment, when the sale of a sponsored product is recorded, the ticket generator (36) associates a unique identifier with that sale. That unique identifier may be provided visually or verbally to the client or, in some embodiments, the ticket generator may order an attached printer (40 b) to print a hard-copy of the unique identifier for the customer. In some embodiments, an electronic copy of the opportunity ticket (46) may be transmitted to a portable terminal (not shown), such as a cellular phone or a Personal Digital Assistance of the customer, in form of a digital message through a standard interface protocol such as infrared interface, radio frequency, text message, or USB port. The electronic copy of the opportunity ticket (46) will include at least the same information as the hard-copy produced by printer (40 b).
  • When the accounting system (28) validates, via the promotion profile repository (44), that a sponsored product has been sold to a customer, the accounting system (28) authorizes the ticket generator (36) to generate one or more opportunity tickets (46) to be provided to the user. When the ticket generator (36) generates an opportunity ticket (46), the ticket generator (36) creates a random but an assured unique code to be associated with the opportunity ticket (46). The ticket generator (36) then notifies the ticket module (32) that a new ticket has been created which then stores the information related to the generated opportunity ticket (46) in a ticket repository (48).
  • The ticket module (32) is the gateway to the ticket repository (48). All actions which impact or effect an opportunity ticket (46) in any manner are passed through the ticket module (32). The ticket module (32) is a process that may be co-located with the manager server (20) or may operate on a standalone computer. In either case, the ticket module (32) is in electronic communication with the ticket repository (48). One function of the ticket module (32) is to verify that a code entered by a customer at a terminal (26) corresponds to a valid opportunity ticket (46) by verifying the existence of and the non-expiration of a given opportunity ticket (46) in the ticket repository (48).
  • The ticket repository (48) is a database which stores all information about each generated opportunity ticket (46). Minimally, the ticket repository (48) maintains the unique code generated for an opportunity ticket (46), the date and time that the opportunity ticket was generated, and an identifier which relates the generated ticket back to a particular promotion stored in the promotion profile repository (44). In some embodiments, the ticket repository (48) may store an expiration date and time for a generated opportunity ticket (46); this feature permits the offering of opportunity tickets (46) that expire at random or, at least, inconsistent times based upon a given criterion, for example, product sponsor. The ticket module (32) determines whether an opportunity ticket (46) has expired when the opportunity ticket (46) is accessed. The expiration of opportunity tickets may be uniform for all generated tickets, uniform across products, uniform across brands, or may be set on a product-by-product or brand-by-brand basis. An opportunity ticket (46) may also be set to expire after use by the customer to receive a predetermine number of awards from the system (10). The ticket repository (48) may reside on a standalone computer or may share a computer with the other elements of the system (10).
  • In the preferred embodiment, at least one terminal (26) is available to allow a customer to interact with the system (10). Each terminal (26) is in electronic communication with the manager server (20). The electronic communication between the terminal (26) and the manager server (20) may be hard-wired (e.g., CAT5 cable in an Ethernet network) or wireless (e.g., 802.1 Ig wireless).
  • The terminal (26) may be a standard personal computer, a touch screen terminal, a laptop, a personal digital assistance PDA or a friendly terminal. Each terminal will include a user interface (52) which may be a friendly interface (e.g., touch screen), a keyboard terminal, a bar code reader, a video scanner, a video camera, a microphone to accept verbal commands, a personal digital assistance port, or other device which can be provided to allow the customer to input and receive data to and from the terminal.
  • When accessed by a customer with a valid opportunity ticket (46), the terminal (26) provides an option menu for the customer which includes selectable options for choosing an award. Typical awards for the consumption of a sponsored product include participation in one or more temporary lottery, raffle, or chance games and control of one or more entertainment devices (24). It is also contemplated that available awards will include the ability to download digital media, such as songs, videos, or cellular phone ring tones, to a portable device such as a cellular phone or MP3 player. In those embodiments, the terminal (26) is equipped with a digital interface (50) to communicate with a portable device of the customer. Typical digital interfaces include an infrared interface, radio frequency, text message, a USB port, or a FireWire port. A printer (40 a) may be attached to the terminal (26) to provide a hard-copy record of the customer's interaction with the system (10), to print hard-copies of opportunity tickets (38), or to provide a record of the code crated or entered for participation in a lottery-type game. The steps of the interaction of the customer with the terminal (26) are provided in greater detail below.
  • In the preferred embodiment, input received from the terminal (26) is passed to the manager server (20) for processing. In alternate embodiments, the terminal (26) may perform some basic processing tasks without intervention from the manager server (20). For example, it is contemplated that in some embodiments, the terminal (26) may directly access the ticket module (32) to validate a customer's ticket information.
  • When a customer accesses the terminal (26) to create an entry in a lottery-type game of chance, the customer may be prompted to provide a set of numbers, letters, symbolic codes, or any combination thereof to function as a participation code in the game of chance. In some embodiments, the customer may choose or be required to allow the system to assign the set of numbers, letters, or symbolic codes. It is not necessary that the entry be unique as in some embodiments it is contemplated that the game of chance will have multiple winners. Once the customer has finished selecting the combination of numbers, letters, or symbolic codes, or the combination has been selected for the customer, a logical game ticket (54) is created which associates the combination with the opportunity ticket (46) and a scheduled raffle, lottery, or other game of chance, a record of which is stored in the game profile repository (58). The game module (34) stores the game ticket (54) in a game ticket repository (56). When a printer (40a) is attached to the terminal (26), the customer may request that a hard-copy confirmation (38) of the entry in the game of chance be printed. A customer may also access the terminal (26) to request participation in a game of skill, at some level of discount, as an award. Typical games of skill include pool, darts, and video games. A record of a request to participate in a game of skill is also stored in the game ticket repository (56). In some embodiments, a hard-copy ticket (38) is printed for the customer as a record of the customer's request.
  • The game ticket repository (56) is a database, in electronic communication with the game module (34), which contains information related to the game tickets (54) which have been created by customers participating in a game of chance. Minimally, the game ticket repository (56) maintains the opportunity ticket (46) identifier, the code selected by or generated for the customer, and an identifier of the particular lottery, raffle, or other game of chance with which the game ticket (54) is associated. The game ticket repository (56) may reside on a standalone computer or may share a computer with the other elements of the system (10).
  • The game profile repository (58) is a database, in electronic communication with the game module (34), which contains a set of rules related to the lottery, raffle, or chance games available to be offered at a specific date and time or available to be scheduled at regular or irregular intervals. The rules define how a winner is selected, whether or not it is possible or desirable to have multiple winners, the minimum number of players required before a game of chance is run, the prize or prizes to be offered to the winners, and any other rule which may affect the play, eligibility, and timing of a game of chance. The rules may be defined by a general administrator, the sponsors of a product or brands of product, or other authorized person.
  • The game module (34) is the gateway to the game ticket repository (56) and game profile repository (58). All actions of the system (10) which impact or effect the game ticket repository (56) or the game profile repository (58) in any manner are passed through the game module (34). As described in greater detail below, the game module (34) is also responsible for the coordination and execution of scheduled games of chance. The game module (34) is a process that may be co-located with the manager server (20) or may operate on a standalone computer. In either case, the game module (34) is in electronic communication with the game ticket repository (56), game profile repository (58), and the billing module (42).
  • One or more announcement devices (22) are in electronic communication with the game module (34). An announcement device (22) may be a display screen, a television monitor, a light emitting diode (LED) display, a laser display, a speaker, an alarm, a siren, or any other electronic means by which a winner of a game of chance or other promotional award may be indicated or noticed. In some embodiments of the present invention, announcement devices (22) may also include means of transmitting content to a portable electronic device, such as a personal digital assistant or cellular telephone, of a customer. It is also seen in FIG. 1 that announcement devices (22) may be in electronic communication with the advertisement module (30). As will be discussed further below, the advertisement module (30) may, at pre-programmed or random intervals, cause advertisement content stored in the advertisement repository (60) to be displayed or announced on any one or more announcement devices (22).
  • The advertisement module (30) controls, monitors and manages the advertisements of the sponsors to be displayed or announced by the system at the establishment. The advertisement control module (30) regularly determines if one or more advertisements, which are stored in the advertisement repository (60), are scheduled to be advertised, displayed or announced. As discussed in the next paragraph, the advertisement module (30) is in electronic communication with the advertisement repository (60). The advertisement module (30) is also in electronic communication with the billing module (42) to ensure that each time a sponsor's advertisement is displayed or announced, an appropriate record of the display or announcement is made in the billing repository (62). As discussed in greater detail below, when the advertisement module (30) determines that an advertisement is scheduled to be displayed or announced, the details of the advertisement are loaded from the advertisement repository (60) and routed to the appropriate announcement device (22) or terminal (26).
  • The advertisement repository (60) is a database, in electronic communication with the advertisement module (30), which stores information related to the content and schedule of advertisements to be displayed or announced within the establishment. The advertisement repository (60) may reside on a standalone computer or may share a computer with the other elements of the system (10). Minimally, the advertisement repository (60) maintains information relating to one or more identity fields for sponsors (which indicate the identity of the sponsor associated with the advertisement to be displayed); one or more calendar fields for advertisements to be displayed associated with the sponsors (which indicate the time/date that the advertisement will be displayed); one or more of the advertisement content fields associated with the advertisement to be displayed, which indicate the content of the advertisement (e.g., text, images, pictures, audio, video, multi-media, and other type of content related to the advertisement); one or more administrative status fields for the advertisements to indicate the current administrative status of the advertisement (e.g., active, cancelled, expired, or in use); and/or one or more fee fields associated with the advertisement to be displayed which indicate the cost or fee to be charged to the sponsor when the advertisement is displayed. The administrative status field of an advertisement indicates the logical status of a given advertisement and is utilized to control the display of the advertisement. For example, when the advertisement is generated or is valid, its status is set to “active”; when the advertisement is out of season, e.g., if the advertisement is related to Christmas season, then during any other season its status is set to “expired”; when the advertisement is considered not valid by the administrator, e.g., if the sponsor did not pay the fees related to the advertisement service, or the advertisement is an old version, then its status is set to “cancelled”; and when the advertisement is being displayed according to the present invention, its status is set to “in use”.
  • Entertainment devices (24) are devices which control or affect the internal environment of the establishment. Entertainment devices (24) are any electronic, electric, mechanic, or electro-mechanic device used by an establishment to provide environmental comfort and/or entertainment to its customers. Examples of entertainment devices (24) include a music player, video player, a television, a laser light show, an air-conditioner or header, a display or screen, an audio system, a video game player, a computer, or any other device that can be provided to offer environmental comfort and/or entertainment to a customer in the establishment.
  • Access to and control of the entertainment devices (24) of the present invention is regulated by the entertainment module (64). The entertainment module (64), through the manager server (20), is in electronic communication with the one or more terminals (26) of the present system (10). When a customer elects to control an entertainment device (24) as a reward for the consumption of a sponsored product, the entertainment module (64) provides a list of available entertainment devices (24) for display on the terminal. Once a particular entertainment device (24) is chosen by the customer, the entertainment module (64) requests from an entertainment device profile repository (66) all of the settings available for the entertainment device (24) that can be modified by the customer and sends the list of settings to the terminal (26). The entertainment module (64) validates the updated settings returned by the customer through the terminal (26) and updates the settings in the entertainment device profile repository (66) accordingly.
  • The entertainment device profile repository (66) is a database, in electronic communication with the entertainment module (64), which contains information related to the entertainment devices (24) available in the establishment for control by the customer. The entertainment device profile repository (66) may reside on a standalone computer or may share a computer with the other elements of the system (10). Minimally, the entertainment device profile repository (66) maintains information related to entertainment devices (24) including one or more of the identity fields for the devices (which indicate the identity of the environment entertainment device that can be defined or changed in its operation profile such as a music player, video player, television, light show, air-conditioner, display or screen, audio system, video game player, computer, and other devices or combinations of them); one or more availability state fields associated with the devices (which indicate the current availability state of the device such as available or not available, i.e., when the availability state is “available”, then the device profile can be defined or changed by the customer; when the availability state is “not available”, then the device profile can not be defined or changed by the customer because the device profile has expired, no further changes can be introduced in the device profile, the device profile execution is in progress, or the device profile has be cancelled by the administrator or sponsor); and/or one or more sponsor identity field (which indicate the identity of the sponsors of the device). Examples of changes allowed to be made to entertainment devices (24) include, for example, to change the sequence to play certain music, to select a piece of music to be played in a specific order, turn off or turn on the music player in the lapse of time, to change the kind of music, to increase or decrease the volume of the music player, to change the TV channel, turn off or turn on the TV, to display a specific video, to start or change the sequence of a light show, to increase or decrease the temperature of an air-conditioner unit during a predefined time period, to display a specific or predefined message in a display or screen during a period of time, to change the game in a video game player, or other allowed change or combinations of them.
  • Additionally, the entertainment device profile repository (66) may include device rules which indicate the valid rules to operate and configure the one or more entertainment devices (24). The device rules records may include one or more start date field, start time field, end date field and end time field associated with the available device (which indicate when the available device profile will be held); minimum and maximum number of allowed changes fields (which indicate the minimum and maximum number of changes that can be introduced to the device profile); and allowed changes fields. Examples of allowed changes include “volume level” for example, to increase or decrease the volume in case that the entertainment device is a music player, video player, television, video game player or audio system; “music or video sequence” for example to change the sequence to play or to select certain music, video, or video game to be played in case that the entertainment device is a music player, video player, or video game player; “temperature level” for example, to decrease or decrease the temperature in case that the entertainment device is an air-conditioner; “smoke or light sequence” for example to change the sequence of a light show or smoke in case that the entertainment device is a light show; “TV channel” for example to change the TV channel in case that the entertainment device is a television; “message display” for example to display a specific or predefined message in case that the entertainment device is a display or screen.
  • In the preferred embodiment, the entertainment device profile repository (66) may be updated locally by authorized users. In some embodiments, the entertainment device profile repository (66) may be updated remotely by an administrator, any sponsor or any authorized person with permission to access the repository by using, for example, a “web page” on the World Wide Web. The allowed updates could be to include a new start date field, start time field, end date field and end time field associated with the available devices, to change the minimum and maximum number of allowed changes, to define the allowed changes for the devices and other update information related to the devices.
  • Another option available to a user as a reward for the consumption of a sponsored product is the playing or download of digital media. Digital media is stored in the digital entertainment repository (68) and includes digital files such as MP3 files, ring tones, digital videos, digital video games, or other digital files can be executed or played in the audio, video, or video game system of the establishment through a computer according to the new or changed profile or on a device of the customer. The digital entertainment repository (68) is a database, in electronic communication with the entertainment module (64), which contains information related to the digital media content available for use or download by the customer. The digital entertainment repository (68) may reside on a standalone computer or may share a computer with the other elements of the system (10). Minimally, the digital entertainment repository (68) maintains information relating one or more contents fields for the digital files indicating the contents of the digital file to be executed in a digital music player or digital video player and one or more identity fields for the sponsors associated with said digital files.
  • In some embodiments of the system (10) of the present invention, the terminal (26) or kiosk will be equipped with a digital interface (50) through which a customer may download digital content to a portable electronic device. In these embodiments, one choice of award available to the customer is the downloading of digital media such as videos, MP3 files, ring tones, video games, and the like to portable devices of the customer such as Personal Digital Assistants, cellular phones, or laptop computers. The digital interface (50) may, but is not limited to USB, RS-232, RS-485, Ethernet, Parallel Port LPT, TCP/IP, Firewire, Bluetooth, IrDA (Infrared Direct Access), hiperlan/2, HomeRF, X.10, PS/2, IEEE 802.11, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11 or other IEEE 802 standard, or proprietary communication protocols and hardware that may be used for communication between electronic devices.
  • The billing module (42) controls the monetary charges of the tariffs or fees so that they are charged to the correct sponsor billing account. The billing module (42) is in electronic communication with the accounting module (28), the advertisement module (30), and the game module (34) to ensure that utilization of each of those modules is appropriately charged to the correct sponsor. The billing module (42) functions as the gateway to the billing account repository (62). All actions of the system (10) which impact or effect the billing account repository (62) in any manner are passed through, and validated by, the billing module (42).
  • The billing account repository (62) is a database, in electronic communication with the billing module (42), which contains information related to the fees which are to be charged to a sponsor for a customer's use of the system (10) or advertisements displayed for the sponsor. The billing account repository (62) may reside on a standalone computer or may share a computer with the other elements of the system (10). Minimally, the billing account repository (66) maintains information relating to one or more sponsor identity fields (which indicate the identity of the sponsors who sponsor the game or advertisement), and /or one or more billing account fields (which indicate the billing account of the sponsor).
  • The functional devices of the promotional system (10) described above may be distributed in a stand alone configuration, a collocated (i.e., a single unit) configuration, or combined stand alone and collocated configuration and several promotional systems (10) can be networked in a wide area network such as the Internet. Therefore, each of the mentioned repositories can be updated locally or remotely by the general administrator, any sponsor or any authorized person with permission to access the repositories by using a “web page” on the World Wide Web.
  • Communication between the functional devices described above may be provided using wired or wireless communication hardware and protocols or combinations of wire and wireless communication hardware and communication protocols. Examples include, but are not limited to USB, RS-232, RS-485, Ethernet, Parallel Port LPT, TCP/IP, Firewire, Bluetooth, IrDA (Infrared Direct Access), hiperlan/2, HomeRF, X.10, PS/2, IEEE 802.11, IEEE 802.11 b, IEEE 802.11 or other IEEE 802 standard, or proprietary communication protocols and hardware may be used for communication between the functional devices.
  • It should be understood that, while the various elements of the system of the present invention are illustrated in FIG. 1 as being apart and separate, the integration of some or all of the elements into a unitary device is contemplated by the present invention. For example, the manager server (20), terminal (26), announcement devices (22), and entertainment devices (24) may all be integrated into one apparatus or device. By this means, the system of the present invention may be easily installed and integrated into the operation of a given establishment. In addition, such an integrated system may function as a product dispenser or vending machine, with the purpose of having a customer interact with only one machine, where the customer may buy a product, select entertainment, participate in number games to win products or discounts, check for game results, and cash prizes or discounts all via the same device.
  • An overview of the method of the present invention is shown in the flowchart of FIG. 2. Minimally, the default settings are initialized in Step 90. Step 90 includes the creation of information stored within the promotion profile repository (44), the advertisement repository (60), and the billing repository (60) is configured with sponsor data; the available entertainment devices (24) are configured and the relevant information regarding the entertainment devices is stored in the entertainment device profile repository (66; and, if digital entertainment files are to be made available to customers, those files are stored in the digital entertainment repository (68).
  • A customer is provided with one or more opportunity tickets (46) from a ticket generator (36) each time that the customer purchases or consumes one or more products of an establishment (Step 100) and this consumption is reported to an accounting system (28) of the establishment. (Step 102). A printer device (40b) can be connected to the manager server (20) in order to provide a printed copy of the opportunity tickets (46) to the customer.
  • The accounting system (28) verifies in a promotion profile repository (44) if the product is associated to a promotional or commercial campaign of a sponsor (Step 104). If the product is so associated, the accounting system (28) sends an authorization message to the ticket generator (36) to generate one or more opportunity tickets (46) for the customer (Step 106).
  • Each time that the ticket generator (36) generates an opportunity ticket (46), the ticket generator (36) generates a code by random procedures and includes the code in the opportunity ticket (46). Although random, the code of the opportunity ticket (46) is guaranteed to be unique so as to ensure the ability to link an opportunity ticket (46) with an individual sale of a sponsored product. The ticket generator (36) then instructs the ticket module (32) to validate the generated opportunity ticket (46) and relevant information from the generated opportunity ticket, e.g., the code in a ticket repository (48) (Step 108).
  • The customer can access a terminal (26) (from a set of terminals distributed inside or outside the establishment) by entering the code from the opportunity ticket (46) in a readable data interface (52) connected to the terminal (26). (Step 110).
  • The terminal (26) then transmits the code entered by the customer to the manager server (20). (Step 112). The manager server (20) then requests validation of the code from the ticket module (32). (Step 114).
  • Upon receipt of the validation request, the ticket module (32) verifies in the ticket profile repository (48) if the code corresponds to a valid opportunity ticket from the list of opportunity tickets stored therein, and then authorizes the promotional opportunity to be executed by returning an authorization message to the manager server (20). (Step 116). If the code is not authorized, for example, if the opportunity ticket (46) associated with the code has expired, the ticket module (32) returns an unauthorized message and the manager server (20) instructs the terminal (26) to display and appropriate message and terminate interaction with the customer.
  • Upon receipt of authorization, the manager server (20) orders the terminal (26) to display an option menu to the customer by displaying the option menu on the display screen of terminal (26). (Step 118). The option menu indicates the type of promotional opportunity to be offered to the customer. The option menu has at least a first selectable option for participating in one or more temporary lottery, raffle, or chance games and/or a second selectable option for defining one or more temporary environment entertainment profiles at the establishment.
  • At this time, the manager server (20) sends an advertisement request message to the advertisement module (30), to determine if a predefined advertisement from a sponsor should be displayed and advertised in conjunction with the option menu through the terminal (26). (Step 120).
  • Upon receipt of the advertisement request message, the advertisement module (30) verifies if one or more advertisements are scheduled to be advertised or displayed. (Step 122). If an advertisement is scheduled to be displayed, the advertisement module (30) retrieves the contents (e.g., text, images, pictures, audio, video, multi-media, and other type of contents) associated with the advertisements from an advertisement profile repository (60), (Step 124), and sends the contents of the to the manager server (20). (Step 126). The contents of the advertisement(s) is transferred to the terminal (26) for of the advertisement in conjunction with the option menu to the customer. (Step 128). In some embodiments of the present invention, the contents of advertisement messages may also be transmitted to announcement devices (24).
  • The advertisement module (30) then updates the sponsor billing account, according to the predetermined fee for the advertisement, in the billing account repository (62) through the billing module (42). (Step 130). The sponsor billing account is associated with the sponsor of the advertisement.
  • After one selectable option has been selected from the menu by the customer (Step 132), the terminal (26) composes a selected option message, which it then sends to the manager server (20). (Step 134). The selected option message preferably includes a purpose field to indicate to the manager server (20) the option selected by the customer so that the manager server (20) may determine which tasks to perform.
  • When the manager server (20) receives a selected option message from the terminal (20), it first determines what kind of message it has received. The steps of the method of the present invention when manager server (20) receives a message indicating that the customer has chosen the first selectable option for participating in one or more temporary lottery, raffle, or chance games are detailed below in the description of FIG. 3. The steps of the method of the present invention when manager server (20) receives a message indicating that the customer has chosen the second selectable option for defining one or more temporary environment entertainment profiles at the establishment are detailed below in the description of FIG. 5. When the manager server (20) has completed processing the customer's request, it returns to its default mode of awaiting input.
  • Referring now to FIG. 3 wherein it is shown a flowchart of the method of the present invention when a customer has chosen to participate in one or more temporary lottery, raffle, or chance games. In the case that the selected option message indicates the option to participate in one or more temporary lottery, raffle, or chance games, the manager server (20) sends a game request message to a game module (34) to start an interactive process with the customer to form a lottery, raffle, or chance ticket. (Step 150). The game request message informs to the game module (34) that the customer, through the terminal (26) intends to play a promotional game similar to a lottery o raffle game.
  • 791 Upon receipt of the game request message, the game module (34) retrieves from the game profile repository (58) the information related to the type of available games to be played and, based on the retrieved information, generates a list of available games, (Step 152), which is displayed in the terminal (26). (Step 154). The customer selects a game from this list and then the game module (34) proceeds to form a lottery or raffle game according with the rules of the selected game by retrieving the game rules from the game profile repository (58). (Step 156).
  • The game module (34) generates a list of selectable codes or symbols according to the game rules stored in the game profile repository (58). (Step 158). This list of selectable codes or symbols is sent back to the manager server (20) in a game response message. (Step 160). The manager server (20) then orders the terminal (26) to provide the list of selectable codes or symbols to the customer by displaying this on the screen of terminal (26). (Step 162).
  • The customer may select one or more selectable codes from the list of selectable codes or symbols, in order to form a lottery, raffle, or chance ticket where the selected codes or symbols form the participation code which is the set of selected codes or symbols that participate in a lottery, raffle or chance game. (Step 164). The selectable codes or symbols are selected by the customer and these are collected and sent to the game module (34) through the manager server (20) in a selected codes message. (Step 166).
  • Upon the receipt of the selected codes or symbols in the selected codes message, the game module (34) associates them to a lottery, raffle, or chance ticket and is also associated with a time-calendar event. (Step 168). A time-calendar event is the time and date on which a lottery, raffle, or chance ticket will participate in a lottery, raffle, or chance game. The lottery, raffle or chance ticket (or relevant information from the generated lottery, raffle, or chance, i.e. the participation code) is placed in a game ticket repository (56), (Step 170), wherein it is classified according to the time of the associated lottery, raffle, or chance game.
  • The game module (34) orders to the ticket generator (36) to provide a receipt ticket (38) to the customer. (Step 172). The receipt ticket (38) includes the participation code formed by the customer, i.e., the customer is provided with a copy of her/his lottery, raffle, or chance ticket. A printer device (40a) can be connected to the terminal (26) in order to provide a printed copy of the receipt ticket (38) to the customer.
  • In some embodiments of the present invention, a customer may elect to allow the system to generate a participation code automatically on behalf of the customer. In these embodiments, Steps 158 through 164 of FIG. 3 will be performed by the manager server (20) on behalf of the customer.
  • Referring now to FIG. 4 which is a flowchart illustrating processing performed by the present invention to execute a scheduled lottery, raffle, or game of chance. When the game module (34) determines that a time-calendar event has occurred, (Step 180), in order to develop the lottery, raffle, or chance game, the game module (34) retrieves from the game tickets repository (58) the list of lottery, raffle, or chance tickets associated to this time-calendar event, (Step 182) and retrieves from the game profile repository (58) the rules associated to this lottery, raffle, or chance game. (Step 184). Based on the rules, the game module (34) selects the lottery, raffle, or chance game winner or winners among the list of retrieved tickets by applying the rules of the game. (Step 186). The selection of the winner is not necessarily intended to be a completely random task. There may be situations where it is desirable to guarantee zero, one, or more winners of a given lottery, raffle, or chance game. In those situations, the game module (34) queries the game ticket repository (56) to find a code which was assigned to the desired number of game tickets (54).
  • Once the game module (34) determines one or more winning game tickets, it orders the one or more announcement devices (22) to display the winning lottery, raffle, or chance tickets and respective promotional reward, in order to notify to the winning customers. (Step 188). The promotional rewards can be discounts over the price of products sold or distributed in the establishment, sponsored products or other benefits or rewards that can be provided to winning customers. For example the first place winner may receive a sponsored product such as a T-shirt or a 100% discount over the price a sponsored product; the second place winner may receive a 50% discount over the price a sponsored product; and the third place winner may receive a 30% discount over the price a sponsored product.
  • When the winning customers collect their reward by returning the game ticket (38), (Step 190), the accounting system (28) updates the sponsor billing account, according to the predetermined fee for the game, in the billing account repository (62) through the billing module (42). (Step 192). The sponsor billing account is associated with the sponsor of the winning game ticket (38). (See Steps 104 and 106).
  • Referring now to FIG. 5 wherein it is shown a flowchart of the method of the present invention when a customer has chosen to define one or more temporary environment entertainment profiles at the establishment. Upon receipt of the message requesting to define one or more temporary environment entertainment profiles, the manager server (20) starts an interactive process between the customer, through the terminal (26), and the entertainment module (64) to define or change a profile for an entertainment device (24) by sending a device request message to the entertainment module (64). (Step 200). The device request message informs the entertainment module (64) that the customer, through the terminal (26), intends to define or change a profile of any entertainment device (24) of the establishment.
  • Upon receipt of the device request message, the entertainment module (64) retrieves from the entertainment profile repository (66) a list of entertainment devices available to be changed. (Step 202). This list of available entertainment devices is sent to back to the manager server (20), which orders the terminal (26) to display the list of available entertainment devices to the customer by on the screen of terminal (26). (Step 204).
  • The customer may select one or more entertainment devices (24) from the list of available entertainment devices (24), in order to define a new program in the profile of the entertainment device (24). (Step 206). The list of selected entertainment devices is sent to the entertainment module (64) through the manager server (20) in a selected devices message. (Step 208). In some embodiments, the choice of entertainment devices may include the customer's portable electronic device.
  • Upon the receipt of the list of selected entertainment devices in the selected devices message, the entertainment module (64) retrieves from the entertainment profile repository (66) the profile to be changed which is associated with each selected entertainment device. (Step 210). The data fields of each device profile that can be changed are sent back to the manager server (20) in a selected device response message. (Step 212). Then manager server (20) then orders to the terminal (26) to provide the data fields of the device profile to the customer by displaying these in the screen of terminal (26). (Step 214).
  • The allowable changes for each device profile can be, for example, to change the sequence to play certain music, to select a piece of music to be played in a specific order, turn off or turn on the music player in the lapse of time, to change the kind of music, to increase or decrease the volume of the music player, to change the TV channel, turn off or turn on the TV, to display a specific video tape, to start or change the sequence of a light show, to increase or decrease the temperature of the air-conditioner during a predefined lapse of time, to display a specific or predefined message in a display or screen during a lapse of time, to change the game in a video game player, or other allowed change or combinations of them. Where the user chose, in Step 206, to download digital content to a portable electronic device, the list provided by Step 214 would include an enumeration of the devices to which digital content may be downloaded by the system.
  • The customer updates the data fields of each device profile, (Step 216), and the updated profiles are sent to the entertainment module (64). (Step 218). The entertainment module (64) validates the proposed changes and updates the device profiles in the entertainment profile repository (66). (Step 220). A change confirmation message is then sent back to the customer through the terminal (26). (Step 222).
  • When the entertainment module (64) determines that a device profile must be executed, (Step 224), it orders the execution of the new or changed profile in the entertainment device (24). (Step 226). In order to execute the new or changed profile for a music, video or video game player, the entertainment module (64) may use a digital entertainment repository (68) which includes digital files such as MP3, digital videos, digital video games, or other digital files can be executed or played in the audio, video, or video game system of the establishment through a computer according to the new or changed profile.
  • The entertainment module (64) then updates the sponsor billing account, according with the predetermined fee for setting the change to the selected entertainment device (24), in the billing repository (62) through the billing module (42). (Step 228).
  • Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be constructed in a limited sense. The various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the invention, will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention, or their equivalents.

Claims (51)

  1. 1. A system to promote the consumption of one or more sponsored products or brands of products within an establishment, the system comprising:
    at least one announcement device for communicating general information to customers within the establishment;
    a plurality of entertainment devices, said entertainment devices being any electronic, electric, mechanical, or electromechanical device offered by an establishment to provide entertainment or environmental comfort to customers;
    at least one terminal for interacting with customers, the terminal comprising means for accepting input from a customer and means for presenting information to the customer;
    a billing module for controlling fees charged to the sponsor of the one or more products or brands of products;
    an advertisement module, in communicative contact with the billing module, for controlling the sequence, timing, and duration of advertisements displayed or announced on said announcement device;
    an accounting system, in communicative contact with the billing module, for documenting and tracking the purchase of sponsored products;
    an entertainment module, in communicative contact with the plurality of entertainment devices, for controlling the availability, access, sequence, scheduling, and duration of use of said entertainment devices;
    a game module for controlling the scheduling of and participation in games of chance and selection of zero or more winners of said games of chance;
    a ticket module for controlling the creation game tickets; and
    a manager server in communicative contact with said at least one announcement device, said plurality of entertainment devices, said at least one terminal, said accounting system, said advertisement module, said ticket module, and said game module, said manager server managing communication between and among said at least once announcement device, said plurality of entertainment devices, said at least one terminal, said accounting system, said advertisement module, said ticket module, and said game module.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1 wherein said manager server, said terminal, said accounting system, said advertisement module, said ticket module, and said game module reside on a single appliance.
  3. 3. The system of claim 1 further comprising a promotion profile repository in communicative contact with said accounting module, said promotion profile repository including data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields organized by sponsor, said data element fields including one or more identity fields for the sponsors involved in a promotional or commercial campaign and one or more identity fields for the products or brands sponsored by said sponsor.
  4. 4. The system of claim 3 wherein said data fields of said promotion profile repository further includes one or more fields for the rewards associated with a promotion, said rewards selected from a percentage discount on a subsequent product, a prize, an opportunity to participate in a lottery-type game, an opportunity to control the operation of an entertainment device, an opportunity to download digital media to a portable device, or any other reward which would encourage a customer to purchase a sponsored product.
  5. 5. The system of claim 1 further comprising a ticket repository in communicative contact with said ticket module, said ticket repository including ticket data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized by a unique code associated with said opportunity ticket, said data elements fields including a unique code, the date and time that said opportunity ticket was generated, and an identifier which relates said opportunity ticket a particular promotion stored in said promotion profile repository.
  6. 6. The system of claim 1 further comprising an advertisement repository in communicative contact with said advertisement module, said advertisement repository including advertisement data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized by sponsor, said data element fields including one or more sponsors associated with the advertisement, one or more scheduling fields, one or more advertisement content fields, and one or more status fields.
  7. 7. The system of claim 1 further comprising a game profile repository in communicative contact with said game module, the game repository including game data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized chronologically by the game schedule, said data element fields including one or more data fields to uniquely identify game of chance, one or more scheduling fields, and the sponsor associated with said game of chance.
  8. 8. The system of claim 1 further comprising an entertainment device profile repository in communicative contact with said entertainment module, said entertainment device profile repository including entertainment device data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields, said data element fields including one or more identity fields to uniquely identify an entertainment device of said establishment, an availability state field indicating the current availability state of said entertainment device, and one or more sponsors associated with said entertainment device.
  9. 9. The system of claim 1 further comprising a digital entertainment repository in communicative contact with said entertainment module, said digital entertainment repository including entertainment data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields, said data element fields including one or more contents fields for the digital files indicating the contents of the digital file to be executed in an entertainment device, one or more identity fields for the sponsors associated with said digital files, one or more identity fields for indicating said entertainment devices on which the digital entertainment may be played, and one or more status fields to store the current status of said entertainment device.
  10. 10. The system of claim 1 further comprising a billing account repository in communicative contact with said billing module, said billing account repository including billing data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized by sponsor, said data element fields including one or more sponsors and one or more billing record fields.
  11. 11. The system of claim 1 further comprising a game ticket repository in communicative contact with said game module, said game ticket repository including game ticket data corresponding to a plurality of data element fields and organized by a ticket number, said data element fields including the sponsor of the product purchased, a code associated with the ticket, the expiration date and time of said ticket, and an identifier field for a game of chance or game of skill with which said ticket is associated.
  12. 12. The system of claim 1 wherein said entertainment devices comprise one or more of a music player, video player, a television, a light show, an air-conditioner, a display or screen, an audio system, a video game player, or a computer.
  13. 13. The system of claim 1 wherein said terminal is a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a Personal Digital Assistant, or a cellular telephone.
  14. 14. The system of claim 1 wherein said means for said terminal to accept input from a customer is selected from a keyboard, a touch screen, a bar code reader, a video scanner, a video camera, a microphone, a Personal Digital Assistant port, an infra-red device, or a Bluetooth device.
  15. 15. The system of claim 14 wherein said terminal further includes a printer.
  16. 16. The system of claim 14 wherein said terminal further includes a digital interface to exchange digital content with an electronic device of said customer.
  17. 17. The system of claim 1 further including a kiosk in electronic communication with said manager server to allow customers to interact with the system, said kiosk comprising a display and a means for allowing a customer to input information.
  18. 18. The system of claim 17 wherein said means for the kiosk to accept input from a customer is selected from a keyboard, a touch screen, a bar code reader, a video scanner, a video camera, a microphone, a Personal Digital Assistant port, an infra-red device, or Bluetooth device.
  19. 19. The system of claim 17 wherein said kiosk further includes a printer.
  20. 20. The system of claim 1 wherein said announcement devices may be one or more of a display screen, a television monitor, a light emitting diode display, a laser display, a speaker, or any other electronic means by which information may be shared with customers in an establishment.
  21. 21. A method of promoting the consumption of one or more sponsored products or brands of products within an establishment, the method comprising the steps of:
    configuring a promotion profile repository with the identity of one or more products involved in a promotional campaign and the sponsor or sponsors thereof;
    granting a customer the right to receive an award from said system;
    providing a terminal through which the customer may access an awards system, said terminal comprising means for accepting input from the customer and means for presenting information to the customer and said access to the terminal being validated by the customer's unique identifier;
    presenting a menu of available award options on said terminal to said customer;
    allowing said customer to choose one or more of said presented available award options;
    transmitting said customer's one or more choices of award options to a manager server;
    recording the selection of said one or more award options in a billing repository to permit charging of said selected award option to said sponsor of said promotional campaign;
    fulfilling said customer's choice of award options; and
    displaying a confirmation message to said customer on said terminal.
  22. 22. The method of claim 21 wherein the step of granting said customer the right to receive an award from the system comprises the step of selling a unique identifier to said customer.
  23. 23. The method of claim 21 wherein said means for said terminal to accept input from a customer is selected from a keyboard, a touch screen, a bar code reader, a video scanner, a video camera, a microphone, a Personal Digital Assistant port, an infra-red device, a cellular telephone, or a Bluetooth-enabled device.
  24. 24. The method of claim 21 wherein said terminal is selected from a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a Personal Digital Assistant, or a kiosk.
  25. 25. The method of claim 21 wherein the step of granting said customer the right to receive an award from the system comprises the steps of:
    selling a product to a customer;
    determining whether said product purchased by said customer is the subject of a sponsored promotional campaign by searching for said product in said promotion profile repository;
    reporting the sale of said sponsored product to an accounting system;
    issuing a unique identifier to said customer, the unique identifier being related with the purchase of the product.
  26. 26. The method of claim 25 wherein said unique identifier is printed on a paper ticket and presented to the customer.
  27. 27. The method of claim 26 wherein said unique identifier is printed on a paper ticket in barcode format.
  28. 28. The method of claim 25 wherein said unique identifier issued to said customer expires after a pre-determined period of time.
  29. 29. The method of claim 25 further including the step of storing said issued unique identifier in a ticket repository.
  30. 30. The method of claim 21 wherein the validation of said customer's unique identifier comprises the steps of:
    searching for said unique identifier in said ticket repository;
    verifying that said unique identifier exists in said ticket repository; and
    verifying that any predetermined lapse time has not expired.
  31. 31. The method of claim 21 further comprising the step of displaying an advertisement message, graphic, or video on said terminal subsequent to said customer's entry of a valid unique identifier.
  32. 32. The method of claim 31 wherein said advertisement displayed is related to said sponsor of said purchased product by the customer.
  33. 33. The method of claim 31 further comprising the step of logging the display of said advertisement in a billing repository to permit charging for said advertisement to said sponsor.
  34. 34. The method of claim 21 wherein the step of presenting a menu of available award options on said terminal to said customer comprises the steps of:
    retrieving a list of the available award options;
    constructing a menu containing said list of available award options; and
    displaying said menu on said terminal.
  35. 35. The method of claim 21 wherein one award option in said menu of award options is the participation by said customer in a game of chance or game of skill.
  36. 36. The method of claim 35 further comprising the steps of:
    presenting a list of available games of chance to said customer on said terminal;
    allowing said customer to choose one of said presented available games;
    transmitting said customer's selection of said one of said presented games of chance to a game module.
  37. 37. The method of claim 36 wherein each of said available games are one of a raffle or lottery, bingo, electronic slot machine, electronic card game, or other interactive game of chance or skill.
  38. 38. The method of claim 37 wherein the chosen available game is a lottery, further comprising the steps of:
    retrieving the rules for said lottery game from a game profile repository;
    displaying on said terminal a list of codes, symbols, or characters which may be used to form an entry code for said selected lottery game;
    accepting input from the customer to form the customer's entry code into said lottery game;
    validating said entry code to ensure compliance with said rules of said lottery game; and
    associating said selected entry code with said unique identifier into a game ticket, scheduling said game ticket for participation in a lottery game, and storing said game ticket in a game ticket repository.
  39. 39. The method of claim 38 further including the step of printing a confirmation ticket for the customer, the confirmation ticket comprising the customer's unique identifier and selected entry code.
  40. 40. The method of claim 38 wherein said entry code is automatically generated for the customer using a random-number generator.
  41. 41. The method of claim 38 further comprising the steps of:
    determining if the time for a scheduled lottery has arrived;
    retrieving all game tickets from said game ticket repository which are associated with said scheduled lottery;
    selecting a winning code for said scheduled lottery; and
    broadcasting said winning code to said announcement devices.
  42. 42. The method of claim 41 wherein said winning code is generated randomly in compliance with the rules of said scheduled lottery.
  43. 43. The method of claim 41 wherein said winning code is selected from among said game tickets associated with said scheduled lottery.
  44. 44. The method of claim 21 wherein one of said award options is the temporary control of one or more of a plurality of entertainment devices, said entertainment devices being any electronic, electric, mechanical, or electromechanical device offered by an establishment to provide entertainment or environmental comfort to customers.
  45. 45. The method of claim 44 wherein each of said entertainment devices is one of a CD music player, a MP3 music player, a video player, a television, a light show, an audio system, a video game player, a computer, an air conditioner, or any other device which can be operated to affect the environment of the establishment.
  46. 46. The method of claim 44 further including the steps of:
    retrieving from an entertainment device profile a list of available entertainment devices which can be controlled by said customer;
    displaying said list of the available entertainment devices on said terminal;
    allowing said customer to select one or more of said entertainment devices from said list;
    transmitting a list of said selected entertainment devices to an entertainment tracking module;
    retrieving a profile of values, for each of said selected entertainment devices, which may be controlled by said customer;
    displaying said profile of controllable values for each of said selected entertainment devices on said terminal;
    allowing said customer to update said profile of controllable values for each of said selected entertainment devices; and
    transmitting said updated profile of controllable values for each of said selected entertainment device to said entertainment tracking module.
  47. 47. The method of claim 46 further including the steps of:
    determining if a particular entertainment device's profile is scheduled to be updated;
    retrieving the updated settings for said entertainment device; and
    applying said updated settings to said entertainment device.
  48. 48. The method of claim 46 wherein said controllable values for an entertainment device is one or more of changing the sequence of play of music or video, selecting a particular song or video to be played, turning on or off a particular music or video player for a period of time; changing the genre of music being played; increasing or decreasing the volume of a music or video source; changing the channel on a television set; starting, stopping, or changing a light show; increasing or decreasing the temperature of the establishment; displaying a text message; or playing a game at a terminal or a custom game station.
  49. 49. The method of claim 21 wherein said customer may choose one of among multiple languages in which to interact with said system.
  50. 50. The method of claim 21 wherein one of said award options is download of digital content to a portable electronic device of said customer from a digital entertainment repository.
  51. 51. The method of claim 50 wherein said digital content is selected from one of MP3 files, video files, ring tones, or video games.
US11342430 2005-01-28 2006-01-30 System and method to promote the consumption of products within an establishment Abandoned US20060189372A1 (en)

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US64821705 true 2005-01-28 2005-01-28
US71307705 true 2005-09-01 2005-09-01
US11342430 US20060189372A1 (en) 2005-01-28 2006-01-30 System and method to promote the consumption of products within an establishment

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US11342430 US20060189372A1 (en) 2005-01-28 2006-01-30 System and method to promote the consumption of products within an establishment
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