If you spend a lot of time online, you're probably used to seeing targeted ads that are relevant to you. Offline is a different story. If you commute to work, on any given day you probably see at least 10 ads that don't interest you in the slightest. However, a company in the UK has launched a special ad campaign that shows viewers a different ad based on their gender.
Plan UK's latest ad aims to raise awareness about its 'Because I am a Girl' campaign, which highlights the fact that 75 million girls around the world are not in school. The ad is a billboard that uses a HD camera and facial recognition software to determine whether the viewer is male or female. Female viewers will see a full length ad with information on Plan's work to help some of the world's poorest girls. Men and boys are denied the choice to view the full content in order to highlight the fact that women and girls across the world are denied choices and opportunities on a daily basis due to poverty and discrimination. Instead, male viewers will be directed to Plan UK's website for more information.
The gender facial recognition advert will be trialled at an Oxford Street bus stop opposite Selfridges for a two-week period and will be opt-in in that viewers will have to approach the bus stop before it scans their face. Though it's quite not an ad served to you based on your specific interests, it represents an interesting development for offline advertising. Who knows, in a few years, we could all be seeing personalised ads based while out and about.