Advertisers have always tried to make ads that appeal to specific demographics. By using several tactics, many ads are viewed by people that are likely to make a purchase after viewing the advertisement. Whether on a billboard, commercial, in a magazine, on the radio or on television, ads have a way of targeting certain groups. Toy commercials come on when children are home from school and likely to be watching television. Coffee billboards can be seen off of major highways in metropolitan areas on the way to business districts. When you search the internet, ads that relate to your searches begin to show up on pages that have nothing to do with what you were previously searching for. This is no coincidence.
Now an ad company has gone even further. Immersive Lab has taken the next step in advertising by offering technology that is smart. No longer is the person the only viewer. The ad can also watch the person. Sounds crazy, right? Well it actually makes a lot of sense. Using advanced technology and imaging software, an ad displaying mechanism or screen has the ability to decipher the age and gender of the viewer. By doing so, the ad makes a judgment on the type of ad to display next. For example, if the screen recognizes that a young female is coming closer, the ad will change to depict a product that is geared toward her, like apparel, make-up or tampons. Once she leaves, the ad will change or remain the same based on the characteristics of the next onlooker.
Not only does the ad recognize age and gender, but also other external factors. By following Twitter and other social networking sites, the ad knows what topics and trends are occurring at the moment and use that information to determine the type of ad to display. The software also keeps track of the weather in order to decide on an appropriate ad to show next. If it is cold outside, a jacket ad might be shown. With built-in cameras and artificial intelligence, Immersive Lab has found a way to develop a smart screen that knows what to display, when to display it and for how long. The technology knows which ads are thriving based on how long individual users spend looking at it.
While the ad displaying kiosks are only being tested at the New York City Sony Style Store, there is a plan for future use at John F. Kennedy Airport in the near future. Immersive Lab doesn’t want you to worry about privacy. All of the images that are used to determine the ad displays are said to be private.
This kind of technology is just another way for people to make money. Regardless of what they claim to do with the images, I just don’t feel comfortable with this Big Brother mentality when it comes to advertising. I think that in the future there will be no limit to what people will do to make a buck off of advertising.