Advertising is a complicated business, and identifying your target demographic and finding a way to connect with them is a big part of it. Tesco is hoping to better connect with customers in its petrol stations with the introduction of screens that will identify customers' age and gender and serve ads accordingly.
The system is called OptimEyes and is developed by Amscreen. The idea is that by registering the viewer's gender and age as well as the time and date, the screens will provide advertisers with real-time data regarding the effectiveness of their campaigns.
While the idea is very appealing for advertisers, privacy advocates aren't exactly overjoyed. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Big Brother Watch's Nick Pickles said people would never accept a system that logs the stores you visit if it was suggested by the police.
This isn't the first we've heard of such technology. In fact, Microsoft filed a patent application for a technology that would serve people ads based on their emotions. The system would process a user's activities (emails, online games, instant messaging, or search queries) to determine the tone of the content they're consuming. Then, it would match ads to the user's emotional state.
The solution to be implemented at Tesco petrol stations is a far cry from what Microsoft proposed, but it's not difficult to see why it's making people uneasy. After all, where do you draw the line when you start down that road? Tesco will roll out the screens in 450 of its petrol stations across the United Kingdom.