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Facial Recognition Technology Drives Innovative Advertising Ideas

— Branding & Marketing —


Marketers have been using facial recognition technology for years in their advertising campaigns, but it still has privacy advocates and some consumers alike feeling a bit uncomfortable. In fact, Google has banned developers from using facial recognition technology in Glass apps due to privacy issues.   When consumers decide to opt-in, facial recognition technology has driven some innovative advertising ideas that have gained a ton of attention over the years.

Recently, Douwe-Egberts, a worldwide coffee company, learned from market research studies that consumers were more likely to switch to their brand of coffee after trying a cup. Sampling is hardly a new concept, however Douwe-Egberts came up with a new and unique way to sample their product in a South African Airport. From the outside it looks like a regular coffee vending machine, but something is a little different about this machine. Using facial recognition technology, the machine can detect when someone is in front of it yawning. When it captures that yawn, it dispenses a free cup of coffee. The cup is red with Douwe-Egberts’ logo on it and says “Bye Bye Red Eye. The stunt works, because it is a clever spin on the traditional sampling marketers have relied on for years.  Watch the video below.

Virgin Mobile created an interactive Youtube video ad called Blinkwashing. By enabling your computer’s webcam, you can change the scenes in the video by simply blinking. Twenty five different films were used allowing the consumer to create more than two million different combinations. Ultimately, the video is an ad for Virgin mobile’s services, but the scenes are often humorous, and the content plays out in order despite the scene changes.

To promote their start/stop technology, Volkswagen developed a Chrome app that stops Youtube videos when the consumer looks away. The download is free to Chrome users. Need to answer your phone? Just turn away from the screen and your Youtube video will pause until you are ready to resume.

Facial recognition technology is also making its way into the Smartphone apps industry. A new app developed by Redpepper Advertising Agency called Facedeals, uses the technology to scan the face of a registered opt-in user and sends them a special deal from the location they are visiting. For instance, if you are a Facedeals user who has opted-in for deals at TGI Fridays, when you walk into the restaurant, your face is scanned and a special offer, such as a free appetizer, is sent to your mobile phone. The app is still in beta-testing, but the company is looking to launch in multiple locations by early to mid 2014. The app has gained lots of attention from media outlets including MSNBC, AdWeek and Wired magazine. CEO Dave Mc Mullen was even interviewed on 60 Minutes.

Amanda Janssen-Egan
Posted by Amanda Janssen-Egan