Technology has come a long way and it’s practically inescapable. The internet and television are constant sources of stimulation, with ads streaming non-stop on web pages and commercials taking up blocks of time in the middle of your favorite TV show. We’ve grown so accustomed to getting bombarded with random ads, most of us just tune them out since some can be pretty irrelevant to our lives. That’s why advertising agency M&C Saatchi decided to figure out a way to create ads tailored to the viewer.
Initially installed in London, the agency worked with Clear Channel and Posterscope to create billboards that used a Microsoft Kinect camera to read a viewer’s emotions to determine the best version of an ad to display. An algorithm then analyzes the response to measure the success of the ad displayed and uses that information to repeat the favorable ads, while trashing the bad ones.
M&C Saatchi explained the billboards in a statement:
“A genetic algorithm tests different executions based on the strength of their various features or ‘genes,’ such as copy, layout, font and image. By installing a camera on the posters, M&C Saatchi is able to measure engagement of passers-by based on whether they look happy, sad or neutral.
“Genes (or ads) which fail to trigger an engagement will be ‘killed off,’ whereas those which prompt an engaged reaction will be reproduced in future executions, leading to a Darwinian approach to advertising whereby only the strongest creative executions survive. Not only that, but a small amount of these genes will mutates at random, meaning that the next generation has a chance to naturally improve over time.”
For their test run, the agency created a fake coffee brand, Bahia, and created a limited number of ads to display. The series of ads had different font, colors, and styles that it showed to different Londoners at various but stops across the city. Thankfully, the billboards don’t store any personal information since it doesn’t know who it’s looking at, so you don’t have to worry about invasion of privacy.
These billboards come at a time when most companies have been opting for internet based advertising instead of traditional adverts. M&C Saatchi hopes that these smart billboards will change that.[Via: BMediaGroup]