New Billboards Launched That Recognise Viewer’s Emotions

Press Launch of M&C Saatchi, Artificial Intelligence Poster, Oxford Street London, July 21st 2015. ©Laurence Gibson
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Advertising big guns M&C Saatchi in the UK are currently testing billboards which read viewer’s emotions and react to their facial expressions.

The billboards, which have already been displayed in London, have a hidden Microsoft Kinect camera which photographs passerby’s reactions and display different images, designs, fonts and colours depending on their mood.

In a statement, M&C Saatchi outlined how the technology works:

“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 mutate at random, meaning that the next generation has a chance to naturally improve over time.”

David Cox, chief innovation officer at M&C Saatchi, said: “This innovation is breaking new ground in the industry because it’s the first time a poster has been let loose to entirely write itself, based on what works, rather than just what a person thinks may work.”

The project has been undertaken in partnership with Out of Home advertising company Posterscope and OOH media owner Clear Channel UK.

Neil Chapman, head of create at Clear Channel, said, “This is a world-first in the use of artificial intelligence and digital out of home, and we’re proud to be launching this innovation with M&C Saatchi and Posterscope. We know that this is merely scratching the surface of the potential for artificial intelligence in the digital out of home arena and are very much looking forward to exploring the possibilities this kind of technology presents for advertisers in the near future.”

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