Signs of the Future for Healthcare Marketing and Advertising? This Billboard is Looking at You, Mrs. Jones

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Person touching an interactive billboard in Japan

Ads with Eyes: Gender & Age Aware Billboards

The iconic, Spielberg science fiction film Minority Report set us up for this one nearly a decade ago.  But right now, a new billboard technology is being tested in Japan that recognizes who’s looking at it and delivers a personalized message that’s suitable to the reader.

OK, it’s not the film’s iris recognition of year 2054 delivering ads to the Tom Cruise character by name. But NEC, a Japanese electronics firm, uses a facial-recognition technology to quickly scan faces, detect the age (within about 10 years) and gender of mall shoppers, and present “demographic-appropriate” ads for people it “sees.”

Another application was tested this summer with the same biometric technology connected to vending machines. The sensors and display on the vending machine recommend a beverage purchase that’s suitable to your age range and gender.

Other companies are testing gender-aware technology in US locations.  It’s a new level of sophistication for outdoor advertising. And it could become a useful tool in the highly personalized message-making of healthcare marketing and advertising.

And by the way, the technology can record and transmit metrics of how many people (by age and gender) are looking, for how long, and even how close they were to the message board. (Just the numbers, they say; not the pictures.)

As the adage goes: “If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.”

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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