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Targeted ads are coming to a billboard near you

Mr Bishop
Targeted ads are coming to a billboard near you
by Martin Bishop - Sunday, 18 January 2015, 5:31 PM
Smart billboards are watching your wheels.

Smart billboards are watching your wheels. Photo: Supplied

Science fiction is fast becoming reality if trends in automotive advertising are anything to go by.

Car maker Lexus is set to unveil a series of intelligent, super-sized ads on billboards in key locations across the country on Monday. The billboards can tell what type of car you're driving, and will tailor a message just for you.

Equipped with cameras, the smart ads take a snapshot of your car as you approach, measure its features and match it against a database to determine its make, model and colour.

An algorithm then matches this with contextual information such as the time of day, weather conditions and traffic conditions to generate one of 80 configurations, such as: "Hey black Merc driver, the heavens have opened. This is the new Lexus."

All this happens in a split second in order to grab your attention as you zoom past on the freeway.

M&C Saatchi, the advertising agency that worked on the campaign alongside APN Outdoor and TMS, is calling it "direct messaging on steroids".

A similar but less sophisticated advertising campaign was launched by Porsche last week. The smart Porsche billboards serve ads to Porsche drivers.

If you've ever seen the film Minority Report, here's where the Lexus ad campaign gets a little weird.

In the film, a 2002 remake of a Phillip K. Dick science fiction story which is set in the year 2054, Tom Cruise's character walks through a corridor peppered with digital ads that call out to him by name. Eventually he enters a GAP clothing store, where a holographic shop assistant greets him and remembers his last purchase.