Will “Minority Report” style personal advertising finally become a reality? Reply

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Andrew Grill

Based in London, Andrew is an internationally renowned thought leader in the field of social business and social media networks. Andrew is a Partner with IBM, with a focus on Social Business.

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With the news that Tesco has teamed up with Lord Sugar’s Amscreen to launch “face enabled advertising”, one has to wonder if the scenarios presented in the movie Minority Report are set to become a reality.

If you have not seen the movie starring Tom Cruise, in the future, the movie suggests we will be presented with personalised advertising as we walk past digital billboards.

The Amscreen move is significant, and my point of view is it will either be an amazing success, or an unmitigated failure.

Below is how the BBC’s Click program reported on the technology.

When you play with personal advertising, you can’t afford to get it wrong.

This is not the first time that face recognition has been used with advertising.

Last year I blogged about a billboard on Oxford Street in London promoting the work of the charity Plan UK.

Here, different advertising was shown depending if you were male or female, as decided by the face recognition technology.

See an example below.

Jon Silk in today’s Telegraph asks if this type of technology might lead to “personal shopper recognition” – something that I know the privacy advocates in the UK will have a field day with.

My view is that while this type of technology might lead to more targeted advertising, it still falls short of real, targeted advertising.

The Amstrad technology is market changing, but will it tell advertisers if they actually glanced at the ad, and looked away, or engaged with it which lead to a purchase in-store?

I don’t believe though that if you ask people on the high street, or those waiting in a Tesco store to pay for their shopping that many would say “yes please send me more targeted advertising”.

The challenge that advertisers face worldwide is that consumers are now exposed to so many advertisements, that the effectiveness is on the decline.

The Amscreen approach also simply uses existing displays, as has been done for many years now.

How social can help provide more relevant information to consumers

My strong view is that a new approach is needed – not just for the presentation of the advertising message, but also in the way we engage with customers.

I no longer look at ads. Having a degree in marketing, and working in the industry I know only too well how advertising works.

Instead, if I am after information about a new product, I will turn to my social networks and ask for a genuine recommendation.

I believe the days of mass-advertising are on the way out, and as Tesco has realised, a more targeted/personalised approach is required.

Social media, if used properly, with consumers that are truly interested in your product or service can be a very powerful way to promote your product over another alternative.

The Tesco trial with Amscreen will I am sure be watched very closely to see if advertisers can get closet to that “holy grail” or personalised advertising as proposed in Minority Report.

This post was originally published on the London Calling blog on 04 November.

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