COMING SOON TO A MALL NEAR YOU - Strategic Marketing


Facial Recognition Technology

Remember this 1984 Rockwell song?


I always feel like
Somebody’s watching me
And I have no privacy
I always feel like
Somebody’s watchin’ me
Tell me is it just a dream

OK, so maybe not a person watching, but what about a sign? In Japan, marketers have rolled out billboards that capture your image, analyze your features and react intelligently by offering an ad targeted to you based on your approximate age, gender and ethnicity.

They have also installed vending machines that will suggest a beverage based on your age, gender and the weather conditions.

The first ad employing this facial recognition technology was displayed at a bus stop in Hamburg, Germany. The anti-abuse campaign by Amnesty International featured a smiling couple, but when you looked away it turned into a picture of a man hitting a woman.

Here in the US, American Eagle has employed this technology in some of their stores to let children interact with their brand during the shopping experience. It takes a photo of the child, who can then see themselves as they “try on outfits,” interact with animated branded characters, print photos and even swipe their loyalty cards for special offers and prizes- all through the interactive touch-screen displays.

The marketing implications for zooming in on your target as this technology becomes more sophisticated are mind boggling. So you don’t like that ad, frown – and the image will change with another offering. You need a new dress for a party this weekend. All you have to do is pull up the retailer’s website, stand up and virtually “try on” different fashion choices.

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