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Advertising Screen Tailors Ads to Audience 115

An anonymous reader writes "New Scientist are running an article about a system which tailors the ads displayed on a screen according to what BlueTooth gadgets people are carrying. A bit like the billboards in Minority Report ." Awkward situations created by devices like this will be scenes in the sit-coms of tomorrow.
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Advertising Screen Tailors Ads to Audience

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  • Learn by repetition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:45AM (#16095728) Homepage Journal
    How many times do you need to hear/see an advert for it to sink in?

    This system is geared for that once only viewing:

    As each passing device has a unique Bluetooth signal, this enables the screen to identify different individuals passing by. It builds a record of the adverts those people have been previously been shown to make sure messages are not repeated.

    Surely advertisers want you to be paying enough attention to get the product information but to not drill it in 500 times a day.

    Seems like a good idea, but the privacy advocates will go bananas (and demand it dismantled when all thats needed is to take out your bluteeth)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seems like a good idea, but the privacy advocates will go bananas (and demand it dismantled when all thats needed is to take out your bluteeth)

      I love how 'privacy advocates' are always spun as being complete idiots and nutjobs. Well, I'm a 'privacy advocate' (if that's what you call being concerned for privacy) and I submit to you the near future when everything is bluetooth enabled. Even your car. When you can't commute or work without using bluetooth devices.

      All you need to do is take out your b

      • by fotbr ( 855184 )
        If it means getting rid of everything, well, you do have that choice. You might not like the sacrifice it'd entail, but don't complain about having no choice.
        • We piss in all your bath water.

          If it means not taking any baths, well, you do have that choice. You might not like the sacrifice it'd entail, but don't complain about having no choice.
          • You just compared giving up Bluetooth-enabled gizmos to giving up baths.

            Cripes, man, are you guys so hooked on electronic gadgets that this is a meaningful comparison for you? And (to the GGP), do you really think it'll be impossible to get to work without Bluetooth in the near future? Holy daydreaming Batman. Ever hear of walking? Bicycles, scooters, public transit? Not everybody is an IT worker living in the suburbs and putting 40 miles on their car each day to get to work.

            If you choose to carry around a
      • Perhaps I should have engaged my brain a little before adding that final remark.

        I am also a privacy nut and would also go mental if I couldn't disable it and in my own experience bluetooth is just a bit of fun for passing bits of info around, but I can see people needing it enabled for their own personal network.

        I have bluetooth on my phone but have chosen to leave it disabled.
        Just because a person leaves their broadcast wireless network enabled doesn't mean it should be used for additional undocumented ide
      • by EatHam ( 597465 )
        Technology removes privacy. It's the nature of technology. It removes privacy and pays you with convenience. Just like you can't have pudding if you don't eat your meat, you can't have the conveniences technology provides without some sort of payoff.
      • All you need to do is take out your blueteeth, eh? What if that means getting rid of everything?

        In the really real world, all you have to do is turn bluetooth off.

        Or are you afraid that even though your devices are turned off, Jeff Goldblum will show up with a powerbook and upload a virus to your cellphone that forces all your devices to stay on so that you can receive targeted advertisements?

      • I'm not sure how this is a privacy issue. Without authorization (ie: just continuously querying the area for BT devs), all you get out of a BT dev is its vendor/model. It's not even vaguely personally identifiable.

        Besides, you're using BT; you shouldn't if you're a privacy-minded human, anyway. Or any data radio technology, for that matter. Encrypted or not, you're still yelling something out into the ether.

        As for technology raping your goddamned privacy, may I suggest learning how a new technology work
      • by AlHunt ( 982887 )
        >Does that make me a 'privacy advocate'? Because in my eyes, I'm just an American citizen who's
        > sick of technology raping my goddamn privacy.

        You forgot to log in before your rant ... s'okay though. We were able to identify you by the sounds we picked up from your microphone.

        Al
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Yeah, it's all great until they tie your wireless signal to your credit card history, and suddenly you're the guy who gets donkey sex ads displayed on the screen in McDonald's because of your porn subscriptions.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lostboy2 ( 194153 )
        They sell donkey sex at McDonald's now? Do you get fries with that? I'm lovin' it!
      • by nizo ( 81281 ) *
        I can't wait to see billboards that target specific products carried by people. For example, who is gonna carry an iPod anymore when every billboard shows penis enlargement ads when they walk by????
    • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:20AM (#16095952) Journal
      Oh, right, that's how the advertising bubble (driving the dot-com bubble) worked. Let's subject the user to hundreds of thousands of different, but still untargetted, ads, and surely he'll end up buying everything. Right? Heck, instead of having just 1 ad on the main page, let's have a dozen different ads on each page. It's good if the user gets a lot of product information, right?

      Needless to say, it didn't work that way. Being bombarded by a lot of untargetted stuff just got people to mentally filter those out. Whereas in the days of 1 (and always the same) banner on the main page, people actually clicked on them, nowadays most of us don't even notice them any more.

      Plus, you know what kind of a downward slope that started, as each generation of untargetted ads had to be more obtrussive and in-your-face to be noticed at all. Pop-ups, full-page ads, layers on top of the actual page, became actually necessary because that bombardment actually desensitized people to the point where a normal banner isn't even noticed any more.

      So, I dunno, it may be that the privacy advocates _are_ right there. Whether you're worried about the privacy or not, the problem still is that it's for naught. It's a rehash of an idiotic idea we've already seen before, and which _didn't_ actually provide any actual benefit. Not for the ad providers, not for the web masters, not for the users. I can even understand risking your privacy and a slippery slope in return for some actual benefit, but it seems stupid to me to just give it up when there are no benefits whatsoever.
    • How many times do you need to hear/see an advert for it to sink in?

      This system is geared for that once only viewing:

      As each passing device has a unique Bluetooth signal, this enables the screen to identify different individuals passing by. It builds a record of the adverts those people have been previously been shown to make sure messages are not repeated.

      Surely advertisers want you to be paying enough attention to get the product information but to not drill it in 500 times a day.

      Seems like a good idea, bu

      • Your attempt to illustrate the idea of repeating seems to be missing the target though. Repeating works only when there is really a chance of grabbing the attention with the first showing. Ads need to satisfy the the aesthetic demands of the consumer. They need to give something: nice colors, a beach, a tree.

        Show me something and then I will read the repetition.

        Ok, I read the repetition because it was an intriguing way of making your point. But it will work only one time.
        • Your attempt to illustrate the idea of repeating seems to be missing the target though. Repeating works only when there is really a chance of grabbing the attention with the first showing. Ads need to satisfy the the aesthetic demands of the consumer. They need to give something: nice colors, a beach, a tree.

          Show me something and then I will read the repetition.

          ok, you asked for it. [goatse.com]

    • Heh, Am I the only one who RTFA and noticed they're calling it "BlueScreen"?

      That's ambitious. Hmm wonder if Microsoft has a product(s?) patented in that name? :)
    • But I love my blue teeth!
    • How many times do you need to hear/see an advert for it to sink in?

      I can't for the life of me remember the reference (anyone?) but I seem to recall reading that it was three times - as in you would have to see a commercial at least three times before your brain actually recals the product being sold more than a few seconds after it ends.

  • ... bluetooth-enabled pocket-puss ftw. Kinda reminds me of that commercial where the guy and girl are in a waiting room and a cell-phone rings. The girl digs in her purse and promptly answers her vibrator.... which she turns on... and then is too embarassed to turn off as she quickly hides it...

    I can just picture girlfriends asking their b/fs: "Why is it that all of these websites are advertising sex-toys?"

    /sigh

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by kotj.mf ( 645325 )
      Good thing I'm not currently carrying any Bluetooth devices. No ads for me? Sweeet.

      What's that, you say? It can detect the court ordered electronic monitoring device attached to my ankle? Shit!
      • What's that, you say? It can detect the court ordered electronic monitoring device attached to my ankle? Shit!

        The purpose of said monitoring device to ensure that you don't skip out on bail prior to your hearing. Which would trigger the adverts for this [astroglide.com] no doubt.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by legoburner ( 702695 )
        I wonder if there will be an increase in muggings/robberies because of this. All a thief has to do is stand near a sign, look for a laptop-related, phone-related or ipod-related advert to appear as someone walks past and then they have their target for the day.
        • I think you're giving thieves too much credit. :)
          • I think you're giving thieves too much credit. :)


            Many thieves aren't all that stupid. It's the stupid ones that get caught, that's why you hear about them. The smart ones, well...let's just say you never hear about them.
        • Or they could just watch you to see if you have any of those goodies.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:45AM (#16095732)
    The problem with advertisements now is that the vast majority of them don't appeal to me. I am a white male age 18-35. That doesn't mean that I fall into any particular demographic, it just means that I may be vaguely interested in some things that others are perhaps also interested. Bzzt. I am an individual!

    So what this purports to do is give me information that I am interested in. Not information that "my generation" needs. Information underload is done away with and I now have interesting data customized for me. This is great because I no longer have to endure GLH infomercials and can get back to enjoying Lean Mean Fat-grilling Machine infomercials.
    • The problem with advertisements now is that the vast majority of them don't appeal to me. I am a white male age 18-35. That doesn't mean that I fall into any particular demographic, it just means that I may be vaguely interested in some things that others are perhaps also interested. Bzzt. I am an individual!

      Don't worry. With the right drugs and marketing programs, that can all be fixed. Soon you'll be a happy, brained-numbed consumer just like the rest of us.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 )
      I am a white male age 18-35.

      Uh, dude, if you only know that your age is within an 18-year possible span, I really don't think advertisers are expecting a lot of business out of you -- probably because you're senile.
    • Actually... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moraelin ( 679338 )
      Actually, if I understand it right, all this would do is make sure you get to see more ads (by reducing the probability to see the same one again), not actually target them to you. The system won't even know you're a guy, in fact, but just whether it detected your bluetooth device before, and during which ads.

      So it won't necessarily mean you get " Lean Mean Fat-grilling Machine" infomercials. It might as well mean that instead of seeing a Tampax ad 10 times, you'll see ads for Tampax, OB, SlimFast, WonderBr
    • The problem with advertisements now is that the vast majority of them don't appeal to me.

      I hate advertising. I don't let myself be influenced by it if at all possible. I laugh at the funny stuff, but even that is not enough to get me to use a particular product or service. I like to try things out for myself and determine if I think they are worthwhile.

      And now, because I own and perhaps use a Bluetooth-enabled device, they are going to use that information to tailor advertising? Fine. I'm chucking all

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TMarvelous ( 928161 )
      Actualy, Men 18-34 is one of the most coveted target demographics in media.
      Why? Because that group watches the least amount of television so when you have program that attracts that group, like sports, advertisers will pay a lot for those eyeballs.
      • by atokata ( 872432 )
        And we're also predisposed to buy frivolous, expensive, things. Case in point: Any motorcycle ever built.
  • by coinreturn ( 617535 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:46AM (#16095737)
    Imagine a video camera on the advertisement that spots you're bald and loads an ad for Rogaine or one that determines you're fat and loads an ad for NutriSystem, or that you have no fashion sense and loads clothing ads!
    • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:56AM (#16095796)
      Didn't they use pressure plates for pushing weight loss pills for those who weighted over a given threshold and other ads for everyone else, a while ago?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by McWilde ( 643703 )
      Bald and fat people usually care that they are bald or fat or both. So they might be interested in doing something about it. As someone without fashion sense I can tell you that clothing ads do nothing for me. Clothing in ads looks no better to me than what I'm already wearing.
      • Maybe there could be some AI behind it that figures out what you would look good in, if anything. :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Clearly you need to pay more attention, we all know that marketing people don't market what they think you need, only what they think you'll buy. So fat people will see McDonnalds adverts, and people with no fashion sense will see computer adverts, and bald people will see viagra adverts.
    • Perhaps they'll be able to correlate interests through all of this data mining and come up with some new products or combinations of products (along the lines of alcoholic drinks with caffeine for example).

      Now where's that Blue Gatoraide with Viagra?
    • Or worse, with a video camera your ability to remain anonymous ceases to exist. Could be a nice way for people to be tracked without their knowledge.
    • by jmcwork ( 564008 )
      So what does it mean when it shows the "Girls Gone Wild" infomercial?
    • I've always kind of wondered how people actually named Yamamoto (or whatever the Japanese name Tom Cruise's eyes came from in Minority Report) reacted at that part of the movie... I bet they were all like, "holy crap! this movie is personalized!"

      Or maybe not.
  • no doubt (Score:3, Funny)

    by jeffs72 ( 711141 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:47AM (#16095744) Journal
    "Awkward situations created by devices like this will be scenes in the sit-coms of tomorrow."

    Lol no doubt, I can see it now:

    Some hot chick appears on the billboard and says in a sultry voice: "Hello John Smith, did you need a refill on your last order of Teeny-Weeny condoms?"

  • It says it works on objects on a persons possesion. Who would be dumb enough to say "OK! Let me carry this bluetooth device with built in advertisement streaming."

    I know I wouldn't. Or maybe it's the next generation of spyware? That sucks.

    Still, I wanna know what they'll do with my Logitec MX 518 bluetooth mouse... Morse code with the light?
  • So I guess that the next generation of mobilephones will not have a *optional* BlueTooth feature, but a required one?

    Hmm..
    • When you take a picture with some cell phones, they make a loud noise that you can't disable, right? (Hm, my current one doesn't.*) As I understand it, this "feature" was added after people -- not the phones' buyers -- complained of being secretly photographed. Also consider that the e911 [fcc.gov] system is a mandatory feature usable to find you within 300m. With those and the growth of for-someone-else's-convenience technologies like DRM, it seems likely that your next phone will also have features that make targe
  • by Raleel ( 30913 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @09:57AM (#16095803)
    ... on the nuances of bluetooth. First off, it's likely that it will only work on discoverable devices. These are getting increasingly small in number, as cellphone companies and others learn to disable that by default.

    Secondly, I'd be interested to see what information they plan on using. For instance, I have a Motorola V551.. so I have a cell phone. Now, my cellphone happens to have a name of Diwani (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwani [wikipedia.org]), so will I get Arab language stuff? I know another person who's cell phone is named Turd Ferguson...

    It may be good for a laugh :)
    • by jrumney ( 197329 )

      Secondly, I'd be interested to see what information they plan on using.

      My guess is that it will look at the profiles the device offers, and either have a database that links combinations of profiles to specific devices, or device types, or more likely it will display certain types of ads when it detects devices offering certain profiles - eg ads for the latest phones for devices that offer headset and modem profiles and not much else, ads for the latest music for devices offering A2DP...

  • "Anonymity assured" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Iphtashu Fitz ( 263795 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:01AM (#16095825)
    FTFA: "It can uniquely identify devices but keeps the person anonymous."

    Sorry, but with all the identity theft, credit card skimming, government intrusion into privacy, etc. I find it hard to believe that such a system will provide "assured" anonymity for very long.

    • by Jzor ( 982679 )
      Heaven forbid that anyone should find out that you've been fed an Enzyte add 5 times and an add for Monistat 6 times...
  • How long until terrorists start using such devices as detonators for bombs? Wait until a large number of bluetooth devices are in range, or have passed within range in a short period of time, then *BOOM*!
    • Stop giving them ideas! /tinfoil

      Seriously, though. That's a damn good idea. Sounds like something a terrorist would come up with. *phones CIA*
    • Ignoring the fact that your displayed paranoia is worse than the mass media (I really hope it's sarcasm rather than actual sentiment - if the latter, get help), let's pretend that were a sensible question for a second:

      Why do something as complicated using bluetooth and visible profiles, when they could do something far easier using a digital clock/eggtimer? Cheaper parts, less risk of them getting blown up by a sudden rush of bluetoothers showing up while they're setting things up, and fairly consistent and
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by z0idberg ( 888892 )
      Homeland Security called, they want you to send them a copy of your CV right away, they said you sound like management material.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        Forget homeland security. Bush needs a new imaginator as whitehouse staff to tell him how to scare people.

        Next speech would be "...so china is now helping terrorism by mass producing and exporting to US WMD terrorist-devices which has resulted in the destruction of so many property and lives..as i speak our special SS forces are parachuting into Beijing and our Nuke subs have launched Tomahawk missiles into chinese production plants... God bless America.."

        With a Fuckin' paranoid moron as president couldn't
  • Did I read that part right to mean that they can link the advert screen to nearby sensors (like in lecture halls for different subjects) so they can link that subject to YOU? (Even if its to your DEVICE, that's still possible to link that device to YOU, isn't it?)

    I don't want anybody monitoring me and my movements, travels, or anything I don't specifically give them. To think that they could do this just from monitoring my Bluetooth devices is almost enough to get me to swear off of radio-linked devices
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:11AM (#16095898)
    That's nothing. Just wait until I finish perfecting my device that will target advertising based on what RFID tags you are foolishly carrying around on you. Bwaahahahah!
  • Perhaps now those people wearing those often-times unseen Bluetooth headsets will have a picture appear next to them, so they don't look like they're just talking to themselves? Or maybe we could make the ads say "Look, everyone around you thinks you're schitzo. Turn your head a little more so they can see the device jammed into your ear!"
    • One fun thing to do is to sit somewhere (e.g. in a park), and wear a wired headset. Only thing is... don't plug it into anything. Just talk to yourself, and see how long it takes people to notice.
    • ... You know the people who wander around mumbling/talking to themselves. It used to be easy to spot them and keep a safe distance. Now you assume that people talking to themselves are on a wireless phone in hands-free mode.

      Let a real crazy dude to within a few feet of me. Sounded like he was having a nice phone conversation, until I noticed he didn't have a phone at all!
  • MPAA report (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:16AM (#16095927)
    *massive blue face appears on the silver screen*

    Attention theater attendants: The occupant in seat 4a, row 5 has a bluetooth enabled video camera.

    SEIZE HIM!


    Now please turn off all electronic devices, or else, and enjoy our feature presentation!
  • will be my preferred Bluetooth device.
  • The way I see it is that one of the things that Minority Report did best was to show exactly how bad and annoying this type of advertising is.


    And the claim that 'privacy issues' are not at stake is of course totally wrong, as, again, Minority Report showed so well: Everyone around you can see exactly what types of advertisements are presented to you, even if no names are mentioned -- nice to walk past this grossly embarassing ad while everyone looks at you, right? Eh?


  • I really need to stop carrying that thing around...
  • ...will involve targeting ads to individuals across mediums. For example, if you watched Lost last night, you might see an offer online to purchase last seasons episodes on DVD, or better yet, purchase a subscription via your online DVR account (someday standard Internet connections in the US will be fast enough to enable this). For consumers who opt-in, their cable and internet bill will be cheaper, as the advertisers will be paying more for a more qualified demographic. The concept of cookies will work
  • Awkward situations created by devices like this will be scenes in the sit-coms of tomorrow.

    I assume these will come from the following potentially embarrassing BlueTooth devices

    • SmartPants®, BlueTooth enabled Depends®
    • J-Rug®, BlueTooth and Java enabled Toupe
    • Blue Paradise®, BlueTooth vibrator (no ladies, it doesn't bite. Well, maybe just a nibble)
    • Blue Butterfly®, BlueTooth Tampon
    • e-Bites® BlueTooth enabled Dentures
    • And last but not least, UnBlue®, the BlueTooth enabled cond
  • by moon_monkey ( 323491 ) <elephantcrisp@googlemail.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2006 @10:43AM (#16096108)
    An older NewScientist story describes another system that beams ads directly to phones [newscientisttech.com], also via Bluetooth.
  • Considering the range of bluetooth is about 10 meters (11 yards for those of us who use FPS units), I'm not feeling particularly worried about this.

    However, the range is 10 meters/11 yards NOW. Improvements in the technology could make receive-only devices more sensitive, extending their range further than the casual user realizes.
  • So, if I'm carrying a bluetooth thumbdrive full of porn, it will start showing wildly inappropriate ads on the big screen? Cool!
  • Maybe I am paranoid, maybe I think outside the box. Or maybe having what time of day you walk by a particular Bluetooth advert board every day is valuable information to someone. Even if the boards don't share one large database and they each have their own, one could gather the databases and extrapolate your daily path (or more importantly for the paranoid, if your daily path happened to change). Imagine the fun of spoofing bluetooth information. "Sir, a crime was commited here today, and it seems your
  • ...wouldn't it be amusing if someone passed by such a bilboard with a bluetooth-based vibrator?
  • The ~10 yard range reduces the effectiveness of this in allot of walking-by type things, but in places like Elevators or Escalators with those Captivate screens it could be a home run. That gives it time to scan everyone's devices, and still have you in viewing range for long enough to show the tailored ads. But my question is, without hat exactly are they going to identify about you just by what type of bluetooth devices you carry? Not allot that i can think of, except maybe identifying total geeks (tons
  • A) Companies will need to spend 3 or 4 times the amount they currently spend on advertising production.

    B) If people keep their blueteeth shut, the billboard will be a waste of money.

    C) More radiation going through my head.

    D) What if you want your bluetooth to be active + shown but you don't want this..err..service?

    Sorry folks, but if we won't be pessimistic about such designs, who on earth will?
  • I don't own any Bluetooth devices, and have no plans to get any. No adverts for me!
  • Create a little circuit that you place hidden in stores that data logs bluetooth devices. Once a day, walk into the store with your palm pilot and download the database and sell it to the advertisers.

    Sound hard? Nope. Go to sparkfun and buy the bluetooth smd module for $50 that has 100 meter range (enough to cover a 28,000 square foot store). Spend $50 on a SD card data logging module with real time clock and then $25 - $30 for a micro controller and power supply. Once a min, sweep the store for bluetooth a
  • The luddite speaks:

    • Advertsing for items like Coke and fast food only work with multiple impressions.
    • Is targetted advertising more effective? For example, even though I'm attending CS lectures, perhaps I'd be interested in attending a mechanical engineering lecture or have friends who are mechanical engineers?

    Perhaps a system like this is better suited for collecting metrics on the demographic that passes the billboard?

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