face, marketing, privacy, technology

Face recognition, marketing and privacy

It’s Your Face. Or Is It? (Press Release at Marketwire)

“From a marketer’s point of view it’s heaven. They can tailor ads, products, even prices based on your age, tax bracket, social media persona and purchasing habits. Marketers will pay handsomely for that information.” For example, NEC has developed a marketing service utilizing facial recognition technology. It estimates the age and sex of customers, along with the dates and number of times that customers go to each store. This information is then analyzed to help predict trends in customer behavior and shopping frequency.

“From a consumer’s point of view this could be a nightmare — the ultimate invasion of privacy.”

Johnson continues, “I’m not just a brand strategist. I’m also a consumer. And I’d like to speak with the voice of reason. New technology can offer enormous benefits. It also comes with enormous responsibility.” Johnson firmly believes we are collectively charged with that responsibility. We have to ensure this facial recognition technology does not become an all out assault on our privacy. “Do we want our children to be added to these facial databases? Probably not. Do we ourselves want to be added without our knowledge or permission? Probably not.”

We tackled the very interesting topics of marketing and the privacy of faces in this post from 2011.

It’s also worth noting that there are two different ways facial recognition technology can be applied to marketing in the bricks-and-mortar world. True face recognition matching a face to a unique individual so as to send a marketing message tailored for that one person is still pretty hard. Inferring demographic traits of a person by using facial analysis technologies does not rely on a unique identification and may provide a bigger bang for the buck (ROI) than true facial recognition.

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