(WARNING: the following is personal speculation)
I’m not Orwellian by nature, but the past couple of nights I’ve had these dreams. Twenty years in the future when everyone is doing more with less. How is this applicable to Ad Boards?
As I see it, the ink-and-paper ad-board of today is on its way out. Technologies like rfid, bluetooth 2.0, digital ad-boards, and wifi clouds are proving promising for a future of personalized advertisements tailored to our current trends and needs. I see wireless as the way we will carry our info with us. Pretty soon, we won’t even have to plug in our jump drives. Much like the keys of high end autos, we can just leave them in our pockets. We will tether with whatever machine we are working with. We can use tech like retina scanning to avoid data theft. Our wireless thumb drives will hold our bookmarks as well as our recent net browsing history. Tags from jumpdrive data can be pulled by scanners to see what we’ve been browsing lately, and change the ad-boards as we walk/drive by.
Say I’ve been browsing I Love Typography and read an article on slab-serifs. It can then take this data to post paid-for ads by type foundries that would have the same tags as the article I read. So that ad for the jewelry store that I wouldn’t bat an eye for is now dynamically changed to advertise the typeface Boton. I am WAY more likely to stop walking to read this ad than, say, the jewelery store ad.
We see the beginnings of this today, with targeted ads like Google AdWords and the like. Ads that are using this concept of browser history to determine what to advertise. What would have to change for this to come to life? The technology is there.
Can’t you see our mobile phones becoming the centralized hub of everything we do? With enough flash memory, the sky is the limit. iPhones are already a converged media platform where people do everything from browse internet to watch movies to keep contacts to talk to someone. It only makes sense that all the wireless thumb drive I mentioned earlier will be our mobile data devices. Since 3g, many streaming services are possible. We don’t have to have all of our data or preferences on our phone: it can be streamed to it live. You can tether with a workstation and then have everything setup the way you want it. Your bookmarks. Your mouse and cursor settings. Your brightness and gamma settings for different monitors.
This puts us into an age where everything is decentralized and data is anywhere and everywhere. It is only a matter of time before affordable global internet is available, and this unleashes a realm of completely new marketing opportunities while destroying some.
To channel Disney’s Lion King, I guess it is the marketing circle of life.