You've probably already noticed how online ads can target and follow you from site to site based upon your search and online purchase history. But just wait until you see this incredible interactive billboard that can recognize who it's looking at it.
A Russian embargo on certain food imports has prompted the innovative billboard. The idea is to advertise the forbidden foods to customers, yet hide the ad from Russian police. "How is that even possible," you may ask? When it comes to people's favorite foods, desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say.
A sneaky Icelandic advertising agency, The 23, installed a camera with facial recognition software and adjusted it to recognize official Russian police symbols and logos. Normally, the ad displays appetizing ads for imported Italian specialties. But when a uniformed police officer approaches, the billboard quickly changes to a legal ad. This is the latest twist in personal advertising technology, and the results are definitely interesting.
The Russian embargo bans importing foods from all countries in the European Union, so many specialty grocery stores were forced to scrap their usual advertising. One Italian grocery store in Moscow, Don Giulio Salumeria, put this sly ad technique to use.
The sneaky ad has generated some confused reactions by Russian police that you have to see.
The grocery store displays an ad showing banned Italian delicacies, but the billboard rotates to a legal ad for a store selling Russian nesting dolls. As you can see in the video, the police officers first notice the illegal ad before it quickly disappears.
While this is a pretty unusual application of the new technology, it opens up tremendous opportunities for advertisers to target you in ways like never before.
For instance, companies will be able to recognize your favorite brands by the type of clothing you're wearing and show you a personalized ad for their new line. This technology could see the type of car you are driving and display an advertisement for a competitive model.
It might seem unnerving that a billboard can sense our personal tastes, but it could actually be beneficial for shopping. Personalized ads make it faster to find what you need and could even offer special deals based on what the ad figures out about you. However, the technology does raise privacy concerns as just one more gadget that tracks and records you without your permission. I'll stay on top of this technology and report back as we learn more.
What about you? Are you concerned that a billboard can analyze your tastes and preferences without your permission? Please let me know in the comments section below.