Today the Times Colonist Newspaper published an article on Google Street View’s data collection as “a careless attempt to breach Canada’s privacy laws”. This topic got us thinking about the future of technology and advertising …
What if you didn’t have to bring out your wallet or lift a finger to make a purchase? What if billboards spoke directly to you and promoted products that were only relevant to your life? What if marketers knew absolutely everything about your purchasing behaviour and habits as an individual consumer?
It all sounds a little crazy right? … WRONG.
Think RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). RFID’s are small grain like chips that act as an identity of an object or person wirelessly. If you have ever used EZPass through a toll booth, or paid for gas using SpeedPass, you’ve used RFID. They can store information and produce in-depth data on all sorts of things (potentially like purchasing habits, geo-locations, quantity totals etc). RFID data can be read through the human body, clothing and non-metallic materials.
Remember the movie Minority Report, where everywhere Tom Cruise went, ads spoke to him, used his name, attempted to sell him his favourite foods and clothing? Well this climpse into the future isn’t too far off. RFID tags aren’t something out of the year 2020, try the year 2008. These bad boys will soon be built into every cell phone or key fab to your condo front door.
There is certainly some concern that this technology will be considered for advertising purposes. Some initial thoughts from critics are that this is an invasion of privacy at the highest level. Do consumers really want brands to have the ability to see what type of toilet paper they buy and then have that posted on a digital billboard?
If this does become widely available, we believe there are certainly ways for this to be used by brands and business without becoming completely intrusive. Advertising profession aside, what are your thoughts on this technology? We’d love to hear about it!