In the popular Tom Cruise flick Minority Report, advertisements on the side of the road recognize faces in the crowd and tailor messages to the individual. At the time, it was a far-fetched and a bit eerie take on the future of marketing.
But this kind of responsive advertising is no longer a fantasy.
Just last week, Porsche drivers got even more attention than usual as the first vehicle recognition technology of its kind worked its magic above Airport Drive near the Melbourne Airport in Australia.
From Jan. 10-15, a digital billboard displayed an ad promoting the Porsche 911 Turbo to all drivers. But when a Porsche approached, cameras 984 feet, or 300 meters, from the billboard recognized the car and the display changed to a specifically tailored message for only Porsche drivers.
“It’s so easy to pick you out in a crowd,” the billboard read. It then held the message for 10 seconds as the car drove underneath before switching back to its regular advertising.
The campaign was developed by Australian out-of-home company oOh! Media and Digital Experiences. It uses IBM software and oOh!‘s own content management system ARGLYE to identify oncoming Porsches. oOh! Media says the technology only recognizes the car, not the driver.
“Over one week, this particular billboard [reaches] up to 200,000 travelers as they make their way to one of Australia’s busiest airports,” says John Purcell, commercial director of operations and technology at oOh! Media. “oOh!’s broader digital strategy is not just about upgrading our current sites into digital billboards; it’s about creating solutions to help clients find creative ways to engage with their customers.”
For anyone who has seen Minority Report and works in the digital signage industry, it’s clear that the technology is already here. But it might not be as eerie as we thought.
“This is the first time that image recognition software has been used to identify a car on the move,” says Purcell. “It recognizes the shape and expects of the exterior of the car. It opens up the flexibility to be able to create new revenue streams, in terms of being able to put a number of clients up on the main site.”
Watch the billboard in action: