Good Morning Mr X, would you like a Starbucks Coffee?

1 Feb

its not often you’ll see WebMarketR go offline and looks at traditional media, but when it is as cool/invasive as this I felt it only right to spread the news. Now that we are hitting recession good and proper and I have been preaching about the wonders of online advertising and its cost effectiveness, I was taken a back when I read about billboards using some clever technology to workout the ‘kind’ of person walking by. To quote the article by AP News;

Small cameras can now be embedded in the screen or hidden around it, tracking who looks at the screen and for how long. The makers of the tracking systems say the software can determine the viewer’s gender, approximate age range and, in some cases, ethnicity – and can change the ads accordingly.

Now that is some cool stuff. You could even go as far as to say that it is targeting like we have never seen it, unless you saw Minority Reports, which points to the next logical step, especially if your mobile phone became an identifier chip. For me the above still works better than the behavioral targeting methods being carried out by some online ad networks, which while have a lot of uses, fail for me at the moment in two key areas. The first being an infringement on civil liberties and freedoms, as no longer do you loose amenity and the second and perhaps the more important point for marketers to consider is the element of in your face brand marketing to your ‘unknown’ audience. To be more explicit, it was not till I lived in my first flat alone did I have a need to know about what laundry detergent to use, or what vacuum cleaner to buy and a whole gambit of other things. Mass marketing taught me all these things, it told me what to take from the shelves. Behavioral marketing could never learn that it needs to persuade me. This billboard advertising allows all the right doors to be left open, while being able to make guesses about my life stage. Sheer brilliance if not one step closers to be a freaky world, where I’m nobody except to my friends at Madison Avenue.

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