It's cocktail time on CD-Rom

David Bowen samples a new marketing ploy from the makers of Cointreau
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Indy Lifestyle Online
One of the more unusual hangouts for multimedia is the duty-free shop. But if you pick up a bottle of Cointreau, the French liqueur, you may well find a CD-Rom hanging round its neck. Play the disc, and you will be entertained by an intriguing mix of sophisticated effects.

The most striking difference between this CD-Rom and an ordinary one is that it is smaller - 8cm, or the same width as the bottle. But it still manages to pack in three different formats: an audio disc, with Latin jazz tunes, as well as a PC and a Mac CD-Rom. If you have a PC, you need at least a 486DX33 and 8MB of RAM.

Load the CD-Rom, and you first choose from four languages. Then you get down to the serious business - mixing cocktails. Short video clips are used to tell you how to make 48 different drinks. Alternatively you can click the mixers you have in your fridge, and the disc will explain what you can make, and how. If no cocktail is available, it shrieks with sadistic laughter at you.

For a gentler experience, you can go on a virtual reality visit to the distillery. QuickTime VR software allows you to "walk" around the floor, and even go upstairs or inside a large vat. This natty tour was created with a pounds 10,000 camera that spins around to give a 400-degree view.

Cointreau is pressing one million discs, 80,000 of which will be given away in the UK - which makes this one of the highest circulation CD-Roms ever produced. And if you are not planning to travel, it should be available in off-licences and supermarkets in the autumn.

This elaborate promotion will be an interesting test of the selling power of multimedia. We must hope Cointreau is prepared to reveal how successful it has been.

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