Digital Takeover

12:04 PM

Digital ads are all around us, and of course, we're living in such a dynamic time, we're probably not surprised by most of the new technology we encounter. But even if that's true, that doesn't make the non-traditional media any less cool.

When I lived in Virginia, I didn't live out in the sticks or under a rock, but I wasn't exactly right at the forefront of the technological revolution. I felt pretty connected to the rest of the world, but you never realize how different other places are until you visit them. So, here are a couple things I kept staring at the first time I visited a movie theater in the Metro Detroit area.

Digital Movie Posters

I was really hoping to have my own photo or video of this, but I always forget to take my camera with me when I got to the theater. Basically, they're electronic boards that showcase movie previews (complete with sound, despite the lack of volume on this video) while a fixed digital image surrounds the center preview area. Whenever one preview would finish, the screen would dissipate into another image, and a preview for a new movie would begin. I first saw one of these while I was waiting in line for the 8th Harry Potter movie, which was great to help pass the time. Plus, it's little touches like this, I think, that make a theater more exciting. When you go to the movies, you want to be entertained--so why not start in the lobby?

Sprint Coupon Kiosks

Basically, these kiosks reach out to anyone with a Sprint phone. Just text a number (provided on the kiosk screen) to Sprint, wait for a response, then hold that message up to a scanner on the kiosk computer. The scanner processes the message, then provides a code for you to receive a discount off any drink, popcorn, or candy at the theater's concession stand. Smart, no? And who wouldn't start to wonder if they should switch to Sprint if they realized they could start getting lots of free stuff?

Now, these things have been out a while, but what we have access to never stops evolving. In fact, I came across this article on Facebook yesterday that explained a new technology that uses facial recognition to deliver tailored ads to people.

Facial Recognition
In a nutshell, the technology makes it possible for a person to walk up to an ad display and have his or her face scanned by a computer to generate a series of relevant advertising. Visual estimates of age, gender, and ethnicity are compiled to help the computer decide whether the passerby would be more interested in clothes, makeup, or certain types of food. And according to the L.A. Times, facial recognition is already being used in Las Vegas hotels and is in the works of becoming part of Kraft Foods' and Adidas' empires.

I can't help but be reminded of Google, which always goes to the moon and back with everything it knows about everyone. True, Google basically owns half of the internet and is not the only company that can see what we're doing with our free time, but it's obvious that those Banana Republic and Marie Claire ads that pop up on every site I visit are not coincidence. And while I think it's fascinating how much more tailored of an internet experience I have now, I'm guilty of occasionally getting a "Big Brother" type of vibe. There is a very fine line between relating to people and crawling into their personal lives.

So, what do you think? Are you excited about the continuing digital/technology revolution, or are marketing tactics get a little too personalized for your comfort?

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