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Budweiser's bonkable Buddy Cup brings Facebook to the pub

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Are you spending so much time on Facebook that the prospect of actually going out and socializing has become a little unnerving? Don't worry; mega-brewer Budweiser has got you covered, with a new beverage cup that helps merge the physical and online worlds.

"The Buddy Cup brings together the in-bar experience with Facebook, the most used social media channel for our consumers," Budweiser spokesman Manuel Rangel Macchiavello told ABC News.

The way it works is simple. On the bottom of each plastic cup is a QR code which, when scanned using a Budweiser smartphone app, links your cup to your Facebook profile.

From then on, whenever you bonk your Buddy Cup against someone else's, a chip that Budweiser calls a "bump sensor" will automatically send a Facebook friend request to the other party – no need to bother with such unpleasantness as asking their name (which you'd probably forget anyway).

"For years we've been making friends in the same way," trumpets an ad announcing the hi-tech tumbler. "Now, toasting has received an upgrade."

The Buddy Cup is the brainchild of Budweiser's Brazilian division, which is reportedly testing it for use as a promotional item to be handed out at major public events.

Brazil is a relatively new market for America's self-styled "King of Beers", with Budweiser having launched its iconic suds in the country in late 2011. Since then, the company has sustained an aggressive marketing campaign in the region, including signing local athletes to promote the brand and sponsoring a number of concerts.

Facebook, too, is looking to expand in Brazil, having only overtaken quirky, Google-owned Orkut as the country's favorite social networking site as recently as 2011.

What could possibly go wrong?

Macchiavello told ABC News that when the Buddy Cup was tested at a pilot event in São Paulo, it was an "instant success," and that Budweiser plans to roll it out at bigger events in the near future.

Unfortunately, however, the promotion is a Brazil-only effort for now, and no plans to introduce the bonkable beakers in the US or other regions have been announced.

That's a pity, because here at Vulture Annex we can think of plenty of other ways that technology could be used to eliminate the more awkward real-world social aspects of a night at the pub. Examples include beer coasters which, when bonked, automatically order you another pint; bonkable shot glasses that automatically check you in someplace else on Facebook to prove you weren't at the bar; and chip-enabled jeans which, when bonked on the floor, automatically call you a cab. ®

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