Introducing billboards with hidden cameras that are equipped to , as this Times article reports “gather details about passers-by — their gender, approximate age and how long they looked at the billboard. These details are transmitted to a central database.”
Disturbing as it is, the whole article is less critical of this trend. I can understand why advertisers would want to see who and how many are looking at their ads, but from a societal perspective I hope this doesn’t become the hottest new thing.
Take this paragraph for instance…
“The goal, these companies say, is to tailor a digital display to the person standing in front of it — to show one advertisement to a middle-aged white woman, for example, and a different one to a teenage Asian boy.”
There is no way it would work. It’s a giant billboard and hundreds if not thousand of people walk by it everyday, at least here in New York. So the chances are a middle-aged white women, a rapture priest, and a teenage Asian boy will be standing in front of it at the same time. What would you show them?
Advertisers who think they can succeed by annoying and invading their target audience don’t deserve to be successful.