Advertising to women only in ultra targeted ad campaign

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I’m not sure whether this is a really effective PR stunt or whether it’s real.

There is a billboard on Oxford street that uses facial recognition to show its ad to women only. if men approach the display they only see a URL according to business insider

It’s part of the ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign from Plan UK

Plan UK have a big agenda to cover.

At least 75 million girls around the world are not in school. This isn’t fair. Ignoring it isn’t smart.

Investing in a girl’s education is vital – it helps her to know she has rights, exercise them when she needs to and achieve her potential.

It is also central to unlocking the cycle of poverty.

  • An educated girl is less likely to marry and to have children whilst she is still a child.
  • An educated girl is more likely to be literate, healthy and survive into adulthood, as are her children.
  • An educated girl is more likely to reinvest her income back into her family, community and country.

Plan UK’s Because I am a Girl campaign aims to ensure girls in the world’s poorest countries can access a quality education. This will in turn move people from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity.

Everyone has a role to play, including boys and men.

Clear Channel, who created the ad reports that:

"Incorporating sophisticated multi-touch, a wide-angle HD camera and 3D depth sensor, it’s like a giant iPad crossed with an XBox Kinect. Using the screen, brands can encourage consumers to view, browse, create, share and download HD content, connect to social media, interact via the touch screen or gesture, and even star in the ads using augmented reality. Good advertising can raise awareness of social issues and Plan’s campaign does this well."

The device uses a high definition camera to scan passers by and guess their gender, showing the ad only to women.  It’s 90% accurate at detecting the correct gender according to the the Independent.

Is it weird to show ultra targeted ads?  Older folks get age specific ads, young mums get parent type ads, kids get age appropriate ads.  It’s a great way of determining who will actually get to see your advert.

But is this type of advertising going a little bit too far?

We currently ignore lost of online adverts we see on web pages Facebook and blogs.  We sidestep billboards, and don’t see banners in front of our face.

But something such as this which discriminates against segments of the population, might just be taking things a little bit too far…

Or should I be delighted that the ad agencies know so much about me, that they can sell me things I didn’t even know I wanted yet.

Perhaps I will one day… but I certainly don’t want it right now..

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Credit: Sukanto Debnath

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