Advertisements you encounter in the supermarket are about to get a lot more personal, as one snack food giant plans to install shelves that can scan your bone structure to determine which demographic you fit into. This personalization will make it a lot harder to resist impulse buys, especially as they have been carefully selected just for you.
Mondelez International, who has a stable full of popular household names including Chips Ahoy, Oreo, Trident and Toblerone, plans to debut the technology by 2015. The shelf uses Microsoft’s Kinect controller to scan basic facial features, which will provide enough information to determine your age, sex, and ultimately, your snacking soft-spot. Pictures of your actual face won’t be stored, but aggregate demographic data from thousands of transactions will be.
While the expectation is that more of the right products will reach more of the right customers, there is also the concern of how much leverage the new shelves will give companies selling sugary snacks. Weight sensors could trigger an in-store commercial or coupon when it detects that an item has been lifted off the shelf. These kinds of incentives could result in previously unplanned items making it into your shopping cart, or your latest diet falling at the wayside.
As one source points out, there is no reason healthy foods couldn’t fight back with ads of their own, but then it becomes a question of how many different shelves can realistically compete for your attention. Being bombarded with multiple ads while walking down the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket could make the experience one you wouldn’t want to repeat any time soon.
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