The Internet of Things concept refers to objects or devices having some sort of virtual representation we can identify and interact with. It’s a constantly evolving term that we’re interpreting and re-interpreting, but some of the popular technologies associated with it are RFID-equipped items and QR codes.
While the Internet of Things is a rather subjective idea, the trend has led us to a sort of 180 in which a Things of the Internet is being produced – case in point, “real life Instagrams,” or an animated GIF auction. Add to this growing list the Facebook Grill.
A custom targeted ad this week (which included my name; the ad team told me that reaching global media from Slovakia is difficult, so they targeted media types in the U.S.) in my Facebook News Feed notified me of the Facebook Grill, a totally Facebook-enabled barbecuing machine. The product appears to be a promotion to get Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to attend the upcoming All About Facebook conference in Slovakia. Its landing page unabashedly reads: “We’ve combined the two things he totally loves … To impress him we’ve created a little thing we like to call the Facebook Grill.” Those two things, we should assume, are Facebook and well-prepared meats.
So it’s part PR ploy, part innovative-if-excessive attempt at once again blurring the lines between our online and offline lives. Basically, it’s a nice-looking, Facebook logo-bearing grill that connects with an app, allowing users to control it entirely via Wi-Fi. Not just the heat: The grill has built in probes and alarms, whose settings you can also determine using the app.
The grill itself was made by “grill experts.” One team member, a grill engineer named Boris, explains his involvement in the process – keep in mind there’s a language barrier in the translation here, though the sentiments remain similarly amusing. “[All About Facebook conference organizer] Peter [Šebo] called [and asked] if I can make a grill n’ what-not, I say how much for that, and he says money is no problem.”
“So I did some welding and painting and stuff, then he says to add some Internet n’ what-not. ‘That’s no biggie for me at all’ I say.”
By all accounts, the Facebook Grill is a thing of intricate details, with loads of options for connecting to the social network: The app lets you post to Facebook the meal you’ve grilled up, and helps automate your food porn posts so you can skip that part and go straight to eating.
Of course, when I say “you,” I don’t mean you at all – or me … or anyone besides Mark Zuckerberg. The team is holding this thing ransom to try and get him to attend the conference and tells me that there are no plans to make more of these. The video personally addresses Zuckerberg the entire time, ending with instructions for him: “Come to get it at the All About Facebook conference. Start by adding Peter as a friend, and he will arrange everything. And give us a big fat Like.” For the record, this is all accompanied by cheerful background music and pleasant engineers, so most of the mild stalker vibes are off-set entirely.
Adbee Digital, the agency behind all this, says they don’t have the total cost of the grill yet since it’s still being made. So far though, it’s around $1,000 USD – cost of ads promoting it, around $2.
What will happen?! Will Zuckerberg go get his personalized grill?! Will he respond to the offer?! Will they end up mass-producing these?! Could an entire line of Facebook-integrated cookware be in our future?! The drama of it all!
If you’re so inclined, the team behind the grill would like your help getting Zuckerberg’s attention, and despite any misgivings you might have, the developers behind the stunt are certainly giving this idea their all. “We launched the site some two days ago and the response is overwhelming, so far,” Adbee tells me. “We’ve had thousands of visitors from 72 countries around the world. We also has hundreds of visits directly from Menlo Park, but Mark has not visited the web yet.”
The question that needs to be asked, though: What will happen to this thing of beauty if Zuckerberg doesn’t show up?
“First of all we hope Mark’s coming to get the grill. If he wouldn’t come we are definitely going to keep the grill as a reminder of what we were able to achieve,” Adbee says. “Maybe even have a big cook out in the summer.” Just as Zuck would have wanted it.