British retail giant Tesco serves you targeted ads in store by scanning your face

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Targeted ads may not be limited to your internet any more. You may see them in gas stations or grocery stores in the near future. Tesco is testing face recognition software in their stores. The software is attached to cameras and screens; it will scan your face to determine age, race, and gender then display ads based on the information. Sound like something from the movies? Think again.

Tesco is far from the first company to use face recognition in their advertising methods. Companies such as Jello, Coke, Virgin Mobile, Volkswagen, and Nike have used the technology in the past for different campaigns. However, their facial recognition use was for a product or service that targeted a specific demographic or a specific campaign.  They didn’t use it to serve up in store targeted ads based on the information.

Other stores have used facial recognition software for different purposes. Almax, a company in Italy, added cameras to their mannequins. The cameras recorded patrons as they went about the store shopping. The information was then used to determine the demographic of the client base, not to produce appropriate ads at the cash register. Some business use this software for crime prevention as well.

Now all we need is an in store Adblock Plus.

[via The Atlantic image via Amerscreen]

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  1. Seamus McSeamus

    One of the grocery stores where we shop has these ridiculous motion sensors near products that start blaring at you as soon as you are detected. Very annoying. I would find the type of advertising featured in this article equally annoying.

    I understand the need for advertising. You have to let people know about your product, otherwise no one is aware of it and no one buys it. However, there comes a point of over saturation, and I think this may be my bridge too far.