From Mobile Phones to Minority Report: The Future of Advertising Begins Now

Technology is changing the way that consumers shop. It is also changing the way that brands and retailers advertise the products and services that they have for sale.

In a post that I wrote earlier this month, I pointed out how mobile phones are becoming a bigger factor as more consumers reach for their smartphones to research and purchase products.

Retailers have taken note and are providing opportunities for tech savvy customers to find additional information about products and services, find available discounts, and make their shopping experience more enjoyable.

For example, IBM Research is testing augmented reality technology in its IBM mobile app.

According to an article on, “The app acts like a personal shopper, using augmented reality technology to provide shoppers with more personalized product information as they’re browsing through store shelves.”

However, many shoppers won’t want to take the time to pull their mobile phones out when they shop.

This is where digital signage can help.

The First Step to Minority Report Advertising

If you watched the 2002 movie “Minority Report” that starred Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell, you probably remember the scene in the movie where Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is walking down a hallway in a subway station and the advertising is being targeted specifically to him as a result of retinal scanners identifying which people are in the area.

To some people, the idea of this type of ad targeting is creepy. To others, it’s exciting.

In this post, I’m going to ignore the privacy concerns and other issues related to this type of targeting, because we’re not quite there, yet.

What is currently being experimented with is facial recognition technology that helps identify basic demographics (gender, approximate age, body type, etc.) of the consumers who are looking at a digital sign. With this data, the digital signs are able to deliver ads that are relevant to the consumer. For example, a digital sign in the men’s department of a clothing store might deliver an ad for Levi’s jeans to men, while women might get ads for the dresses on the other side of the store or maybe even ads with a gift-giving theme.

Just think about it, many stores are already using video displays to advertise the products that they sell. Why not leverage them to deliver more relevant content that can increase sales. And, as an added bonus, retailers can also track basic ad performance and make changes to the content displayed. For more information, check out the Immersive Labs website. They are one of the companies that is taking the lead in this type of technology.

Final Thoughts

Mobile phones are going to play a huge factor in connecting retailers and brands to their customers and potential customers.

However, for consumers who don’t feel the need to reach for their mobile phones while shopping, other technologies are out there to help get their attention when they are in a store’s “brick-and-mortar” location or any other place in the terrestrial world.

By using digital signage similar to what was featured in the movie “Minority Report,” retailers and brands can deliver relevant ads to consumers that can help increase sales of the products and services that they are selling.

The future of advertising begins now. And, to me, that’s exciting.

Photo credit: eyeliam on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

I am a marketing analyst and strategist. I earned my master's degree from West Virginia University in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2023. I also hold a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison in Sociology with a Concentration in Analysis and Research, and I completed the Mobile Marketing Professional Certificate Program from Auburn University in 2015.