Consumer Reports:  “Digital billboards are tracking you. And they really, really want you to see their ads.”  On social media, your TV, etc.

Consumer Reports: “Digital billboards are tracking you. And they really, really want you to see their ads.” On social media, your TV, etc.

Photo: Consumer Reports

“How the most intrusive parts of the web are expanding into the real world, complete with data collection and targeted ads.

On a bright Friday morning, Frank O’Brien is giving me a tour through Times Square in New York City. Thousands of strangers are milling around us on the sidewalk, and in the crowd, it’s easy to feel anonymous. But according to O’Brien, many of the billboards and screens towering over our heads in every direction know a lot about who we are.

‘As we stand here, there are devices behind that screen that are picking ID numbers from our cell phones,’ O’Brien tells me, gesturing toward a billboard at 42nd Street and 7th Avenue. Using those devices and other technology, he says, ‘We know who is in Times Square at a given moment.’

O’Brien, the CEO of a high-tech advertising platform called Five Tier, launches an app on his phone. He taps a few buttons and in an instant, the billboard changes to display a picture of me I’d sent him the day before. Suddenly, I’m famous, with a 20-foot-high photo of me gazing out over the tourists. ‘It still amazes me sometimes,’ he says…

Data including your gender, age, race, income, interests, and purchasing habits can be used by a company such as Five Tier to trigger an advertisement right away. Or, more often, it will be used for planning where and when to show ads in the future—maybe parents of school-age children tend to pass a particular screen at 3 p.m. on weekdays, while 20-something singles usually congregate nearby on Saturday nights.

Then the tracking continues. Once your phone is detected near a screen showing a particular ad, an advertising company may follow up by showing you related ads in your social media feed, and in some cases these ads may be timed to coordinate with the commercials you see on your smart TV at night.

It doesn’t stop there. Advertisers are keenly interested in ‘attribution,’ judging how well a marketing campaign influences consumer behavior. For instance, is it better to target people like you with online ads for fast food right after you see a restaurant’s new TV commercial, or to wait until after you drive by a new billboard the next day? The advertising industry looks for the answers by watching where you go in person, what you do online, and what you buy with your credit card.

Charts: Example shown in Consumer reports

These aren’t futuristic scenarios. They are a recent but growing trend, according to executives in the advertising business. ‘The industry has really started to wake up to this within the last year,’ says Ian Dallimore, the director of digital growth for Lamar Advertising, a leader in out-of-home advertising. ‘If you’re not using data to better plan and buy ads, then you’re probably not doing out-of-home the right way.’

Researchers say that as tracking and ad targeting spill over from the web into the real world, our collective privacy and sense of control are eroding. If you don’t want to see ads at home, you can close your browser or turn off your phone, but you can’t avoid the ads you see in public. And there’s no practical way to completely block the location tracking used to place those ads…


Photo: Consumer Reports
Lawmakers and regulatory agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission are paying more attention to data privacy, but it’s not clear how the measures being put in place will affect the way individuals are tracked through their phones, and how the data is used by data brokers and their clients. Several out-of-home advertising companies I spoke with said they already comply with GDPR, Europe’s sweeping privacy regulation that was implemented in 2018. The companies also say they are prepared for the most stringent privacy legislation in the U.S., the California Consumer Privacy Act, which is supported by Consumer Reports and goes into effect in January 2020.

Five Tier’s Frank O’Brien says that, just like every other industry, the out-of-home advertising business should be regulated. But for now, if you’re not comfortable with how out-of-home advertising uses your information, you don’t have much recourse. ‘I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it,’ he says. ”

— Thomas Germain, Consumer Reports
Read entire article

Tech:  “This self-driving billboard and vending machine is so dystopian”

Tech: “This self-driving billboard and vending machine is so dystopian”

Photo: PerceptIn, Mashable

The company says the DragonFly is a retail opportunity and will start selling it in the first part of 2019 for $40,000. It’s this lowish price compared to other digital billboards (this marketing site says a digital ad starts at around $10,000 for a month depending on the location) and to other self-driving vehicles that the CEO sees as a key selling point. That and its capabilities to collect location-based data showing when and where people are paying attention to the vehicle…”

— Shasha Lekach, Mashable

Read entire and see video in this article

Two additional examples of these types of devices

“PepsiCo testing self-driving vending machine in California”

Photo: University of the Pacific in Stockton, UPI.com

Read article

“PerceptIn unleashes a driverless mobile vending machine that displays video ads”

Photo: PerceptIn, Venture Beat

Read article

Tech: Edible billboard “Largest restaurant booking platform to launch London’s edible map”

Tech: Edible billboard “Largest restaurant booking platform to launch London’s edible map”

Photo: London Post

“…OpenTable, the world’s leading restaurant booking service, is giving Londoners a chance to taste their way through the capital’s boroughs with the first edible map of the city.

On Tuesday 2nd July, those visiting King’s Cross Euston Road between 12pm and 5pm will be able to take a bite into the flavours of London from OpenTable’s interactive edible map billboard. To celebrate London’s vibrant diversity of cuisines from Turkish to Japanese, the map will feature a selection of canapé style dishes from around the world paired with the boroughs in which they’re most associated, for diners to take away…

Before foodie fans decide where to head for their next great dining experience, they can visit OpenTable’s edible map in King’s Cross to get a ‘taste’ of the area…

[Editor’s note: Sign offered a menu larger than many food trucks which is why we’ve included it here]

Greek: Honey and Cumin Hummus with Griddled Flatbread
Turkish: Dolma with Roasted Garlic Yoghurt
Bangladeshi: Spiced Lamb Biryani
Japanese: Avocado and Cream Cheese Maki with Soy and Pickled Ginger
Mexican: Short Rib Beef Taco, Sour Cream, Jalapeño Salsa
Indian: Onion Bhaji with Coriander and Mango Raita
Afternoon Tea: Scones with Clotted Cream Strawberry Jam
American: Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Sriracha Mayo
Baked Ratatouille with Goat’s Cheese
British: Fish and Chips with Samphire Tartare Sauce
Italian: Pork and Fennel Tortellini with Aged Parmesan
Italian: Truffle Arancini with San Marzano Tomato
Indian: Pea and Potato Samosa Chaat”

— London Post

Read entire article

Heading to Orlando and Tampa: “McDonald’s drives 8.4K in-app actions by tying geofenced billboards to Waze”

Heading to Orlando and Tampa: “McDonald’s drives 8.4K in-app actions by tying geofenced billboards to Waze”

Photo: Waze on Mobile Marketer

“McDonald’s earned 6.4 million mobile impressions by tying together out-of-home (OOH) billboards and in-app advertising on Waze, according to case study details shared with Mobile Marketer. The fast-food chain is the world’s largest spender on OOH media and worked with its outdoor agency Outdoor Media Group on the push.

The campaign [Pilot in Southern CA] leveraged more than 300 billboards equipped with geofencing technology in the Southern California market to serve Waze users in close radius an in-app ad format called Zero Speed Takeover. The full-screen ads were served anytime a user’s car came to a full stop for several seconds.

Messages shown in the ads reflected those on the billboards, touting McDonald’s menu promotions, like the limited return of the McRib, and carrying a call-to-action to ‘Drive There,’ wherein Waze navigation guided consumers to nearby restaurants. The campaign resulted in more than 8,400 navigations — meaning a user decided to activate the call-to-action — and reached 1.9 million unique consumers across an eight-week run in October and November last year…

McDonald’s will continue to work with Waze in Southern California through 2019 following the fall pilot and is expanding the partnership to five additional markets: Las Vegas, Arizona, Tampa, Orlando and Houston. ”

— Peter Adams, Mobile Marketer

Read entire article

“High Tech Murals in Miami: New Wynwood mural uses technology to teach people about Florida’s environment”

“High Tech Murals in Miami: New Wynwood mural uses technology to teach people about Florida’s environment”

Video: WPLG Local10.com

“Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is well-known for its amazing murals, but now they are going high-tech…

On the surface, the mural is impressive in its own right…

An alligator, a coyote, a manatee and more than a dozen other animals near extinction or symbolic to our state are featured in the mural…

‘People can actually scan each of these animals and species and explore the mural, and it would actually bring to life a 3D environment with video education about each of these species,’ [Linda Cheung, founder of Before It’s Too Late] said…

Juan Carlos Gallo is still developing the app and working to make adjustments so the software can recognize the images both during the day and at night. ”

— Roy Ramos, WPLG Local10.com

Watch Video or Read entire article

Breathing Mannequin Bus Shelter: “See the bus stop ad that’s creeping them out”

Breathing Mannequin Bus Shelter: “See the bus stop ad that’s creeping them out”

Video: Fox 35, Orlando
“The very lifelike naked mannequin is an ad for Netflix’s “Altered Carbon”

A squishy, gooey, breathing advertisement is drawing double-takes even in too-cool West Hollywood.

On a Santa Monica Boulevard bus shelter, the plastic pouch containing a very lifelike naked mannequin is an ad for Netflix’s sci-fi drama “Altered Carbon.”

Those who dare to poke it find a creepily lifelike fleshy texture. Gel-like goo oozes around the body, which breathes…”

— Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News
Read entire article
Watch Video on Fox 35, Orlando