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On February 6th, Mazda installed a digital billboard in the retail lobby of the Royal Bank Plaza in Toronto.

The sign’s monitor loops a 15-second video showcasing their new car, the MX-5 RF. Using a combination of crowd-scanning and facial recognition, the custom software installed in the display detects each time a pedestrian looks at the ad, which then is added to the on-screen tally of total people who have done the same. After two days, the counter reached 15,000.

The display counter, if maintaining the same pace for the next month it remains in place, could reach 150,000.

There are two brilliant aspects of this ad. First: despite the complex technology, the end display is so simple that it’s both appealing and unobtrusive. Second: the ad tallies the proof that it is being seen by the people it is meant to be shown to.

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