CES is always a wonder; but do we really need this stuff?

News with a Twist

It’s time someone introduced a product we can really use

We asked, LG listened

The annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas is an incredible event. It’s a venue for new ideas, breakthrough products, new and better electronic stuff and more. Many of the products shown at CES end up being indispensable personal and household items, sometimes immediately, sometimes in a few years, but sometimes never.

If the CES 2020 had a subtitle, it would be “Robots ‘R Us.”

Here are some examples:

The Charmin Toilet Paper Robot
Charmin Toilet Paper Robot

One of the surprise stars at the 2020 CES was a cute, tiny robot, controlled by a smartphone app, that brings toilet paper rolls to bathroom users on command. The “RollBot” is designed to solve a common household problem: What do you do when you’re in the middle of a bathroom break and you realize you’re out of toilet tissue. And while the “RollBot’s” introductory date has not been set and no price has been announced, Charmin’s stated goal is to eliminate “poop anxiety.”

Maybe I’m overthinking, but how about this: Instead of putting that extra roll of TP on the “RollBot,” how about putting it on the toilet tank cover? Same effect, less cost and, and this is important, less chance of dropping your iPhone into the bowl! Make no mistake…”iPhone dropped in toilet bowl anxiety” trumps “poop anxiety” washed-hands down.

Robotics Walker Drink Fetcher and Pourer

First demonstrated at CES 2018, UBTECH’s “Walker” has been much improved with the firm claiming that it will “one day be an indispensable part of your family.” And to prove that claim, UBTECH demonstrated its ability to get soda bottles and cans (and, I assume beer – if state laws allow robots to serve alcohol) from the fridge to deliver and pour them.

Really! Two years in the making and this is all they’ve got? The shame of it is that UBTECH didn’t come up with “Walker” in the 1970’s. Think how much easier Edith Bunker’s life would have been if she didn’t have to run in the kitchen constantly to get Archie his beer! No more being called “Ding-bat” if she had one of these!

LG Cloi Barista Bot

Ok, this is the one, the LG Cloi Barista Bot, that strikes a chord with me –  unfortunately, it’s the wrong chord. Why? Because as many of you know, I possess every kind of pour over coffee-brewing device known to man. And three different gooseneck kettles to ensure a proper pour.

Now what does the Cloi (pronounced “Chloe”) do that I can’t? Apparently, nothing.

It heats the water in a gooseneck kettle and then pours the heated water into a manual pour over device allowing the brewed coffee to drip into a carafe.

My kettles heat the water (to the precise temperature I need, I might add). I can tip the kettle to precisely pour the heated water into my Kalita or Hario or Bonavita or Clever or Aeropress or in a pinch, Melitta. And, my coffee drips perfectly into a mug or carafe in the requisite three minutes.

It would seem that the only thing the LG Cloi Barista Bot can do that I can’t is take up an entire kitchen counter. (Although my wife might take exception with that statement.)

I reached out to LG to discuss my frustration. Why, I asked, would you spend time and money working on a robot that no one, and I mean no one, wants or needs, when you could be spending that R&D money on robots that actually fill important consumer needs?

To their credit, LG responded to my frustration. Cloi brand manager, Kim Jong-Dos emailed (re-produced and translated below) to say that he really wasn’t proud of the Barista Bot but that it was introduced because his boss pushed for it. His boss, Cloi division director Lee Kup-Jo, apparently is Korea’s most caffeinated man.

In his email, Mr. Kim told me about the breakthrough robot LG will be introducing at CES 2021 and gave me exclusive media rights to…in his words, “what will be the most important robot, maybe the most important product in our history. It is the robot that every American household wants and needs…a robot that will end the greatest source of kitchen bickering… and might even lower the divorce rate in America.” “The LG Cloi Dishwasher Loading and Unloading Bot!

Kim Jong-Dos Email – Original Korean version

Kim Jong-Dos email – English Translation

Dear Mr. Block,

I understand your frustration with our introduction of the absolutely
useless robot, Barista Bot. Please be aware that LG produced this product
because the head of the Cloi division, Lee Kup-Jo, is a coffee fanatic.

But I have news for you. And, because of your insightful comments, I wanted
to give that news to you before we release it to your competitors, including
Cnet, CNN and the N.Y. Times.

At CES 2021, LG will introduce what will be the most important robot,
maybe the most important product in our history. It is the robot that every
American household wants and needs. It’s a robot that will end the greatest
source of kitchen bickering (that’s a fact, according to the Cloi research
department) and might even lower the divorce rate in America.

Next year at CES we will introduce the robot that will make the world a
better place, a happier place, a less stressful place and, finally, give robots
a reason for being.

Next year we will introduce: The LG Cloi Dishwasher Loading and Unloading Bot!

Next year, LG will make robots great again.

Mr. Block, thank you again for your comments and your interest in LG Cloi.
As a token of our appreciation, I have sent you, via international courier, one
of our new Cloi promotional items, the LG Cloi “MRGA” hat (pronounced, “Mer-ga.”) I hope you wear it with pride.


Kim Jong-Dos

LG Cloi MRGA Hat

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

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