Have you heard the latest? Smart ads are now watching you in the grocery store and at the mall. That’s right, you’re not only watching the ad, the ad is watching you! I noticed that recently my local Wal-Mart had installed these monitors at the end of certain aisle and the monitors were running commercials. Well, wouldn’t you know that the genius advertising agency has come up with this totally Orweillian plan to install tiny cameras in the monitors that take a digital image of anyone who stops to watch the monitor. The image is analyzed by this new software that determines the gender, age, and ethnicity of the person watching the commercial. They use this data in two ways; they target the ads that show on the monitor, meaning if the software indicates that you are a woman the next ad may be for dish detergent as opposed to, if you are a man, beer. The second way advertisers use the info is to track how effectively they are reaching their target, so they can count exactly how many men stopped to watch the beer ad on any given day.
Not only that, but the tracking on the web now is absolutely ridiculous. I was reading IHT online and this insurance ad came up that said, “Hello, [Insert my state here], we’re now offering insurance in your state.” I’ve been hearing this company’s ads on the radio for the past few weeks, so I was familiar with their ad campaign. It totally freaked me out that they knew I was in their market when I went to an international site. How did they know? Did they buy my searches from Google, so they knew I had searched for restaurants in my city?
Seriously I can’t even begin to deal!!! Check out this poem set to music by Jill Scott. It totally captures my sentiments. Then take the poll and/or leave me a comment and let me know if you think I’m making a mountain out of a molehill or what.