Interactive Advertising: Here’s Looking at You, Kid

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Last year we wrote about interactive billboards in Japan that recalled the interactive ads featured in the Tom Cruise thriller, Minority Report. Today we bring you Immersive Labs, a New York-based advertising technology startup that produces dynamically tailored ad messages to passerby.

The anonymous facial detection is nuanced enough to parse ads by gender, age, distance, attention time and gaze, weather, time of day, and day of week. The technology is invisible to the viewer and works one-on-one or with crowds.[more]

“The real focus is artificial intelligence, so that ads can learn and improve over time,” says Immersive Labs CEO Jason Sosa, whose freshly-hatched digital signage firm was one of 11 chosen from the TechStars accelerator program. “The software may learn that it’s better to play a Coca-Cola ad at this time of day, or when the weather’s like this.”

Brands, in-store retail and digital screen ad networks can leverage Immersive Lab’s software, which changes content dynamically, in real-time, by adding a low-cost web camera that lets them optimize ad displays for each impression opportunity. Anonymous audience measurement reports and analytics are accessible via a web-based dashboard.

Immersive’s technology doesn’t identify individuals, but gathers “anonymous” information to dynamically serve content based on external data. A young male passerby may see a Bud Lite ad, while a younger woman may get served a Victoria’s Secret ad.

“It takes away the noise. You’re not going to get irrelevant ads any more. You’re going to get ads you actually want to see,” adds Sosa.

Electronics giant NEC has deployed smart billboards with embedded facial-recognition technology in Japan, and in Germany, a Foursquare check-in on a GranataPet billboard triggers an offering of dog food, as seen in this video:

According to David Jones, global CEO of ad agency Havas and Euro RSCG Worldwide, “What we’re going to see is the boring world of retail and the sexy world of digital will come together, and it’ll be an unbelievable change. The biggest single revolution that we’ll see in digital is all around location based” advertising.

In another interesting test in New York, a digital billboard near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel displays “feelings” and interacts with onlookers via a GPS-based augmented reality app from GoldRun:

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