In-Store Retail Advertising Causes as Many Woes as Wows

The Wall Street Journal’s Emily Steel describes the latest in in-store video advertising and RFID. Digital screens have finally become affordable for the majority of stores/ The trick now is to figure out how to use them most effectively:

Procter & Gamble is placing radio-frequency identification tags on products at a Metro Extra retail store in Germany so that when a customer pulls the product off the shelf, a digital screen at eye level changes its message. When a consumer picks out a shampoo for a particular type of hair, for instance, the screen recommends the most appropriate conditioner or other hair products, says John Paulson, president of G2 Interactive, a digital-marketing arm of WPP Group’s G2 Network.

Most of the experimentation by marketers is being done with the new digital screens that are appearing next to cash registers and in store aisles. Because cameras are embedded in many of these digital screens displaying the ads, marketers are hoping to serve up ads based on the consumer’s appearance.

The article lists a few issues with digital displays:
-Sometimes shop owners have to download ads days in advance, which doesn’t reflect real-time purchasing facts.
-Download delays for other ads have resulted n early inventory depletion: The ad doesn’t change after the inventory has sold out.

Facial recognition features, however, sound like prime technology to go buggy, offend someone, or both. What if an African-American has features that the machine considers to be Caucasian? Or it thinks someone of Latin American origin looks Asian?

I can’t wait to read about the lawsuit.

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