Should Brands be using facial recognition to better target messages to you?


Well everyone knows moms do most of the shopping. After all, 83 million mothers control $2.5 trillion in annual spending driving the U.S. economy. Brands across the U.S. have been focusing much of their marketing dollars on mom in order to get a big piece of her wallet.

So what do you think about companies developing facial recognition technology that will allow them to dynamically serve up targeted information in stores to you?

Kraft and Adidas are just two brands looking into using facial recognition technology into stores. The technology can be put in vending machines, kiosks and digital signs. Microsoft and Intel have developed the technology and through digital signage that can recognize your gender and age from the minute you walk in the door of a retailer. The signage than can use a database to serve up the right message. The screen takes measurements of your face and makes assumptions based on width of your eyes or length of your jawline to come up with your age and gender.

So imagine you walk into a store and there is a digital display in the entrance. You walk over to look at what is on the display and while you are looking, the display is reading your face, estimating your age and beginning to change the messaging on the board while you look upon it. Recognizing you are a young mom, you might be served up messages around children, a home, cooking or whatever has been pre-loaded into the display. Your husband would be served up different messaging.

Do you think this has taken targeting too far? Curious, I reached out to ask a couple of moms.

“I’m no expert, but not many people have ever guessed my age or any woman in my family’s age correctly. (it’s great for winning carnival prizes) but seriously, I think that targeting women based on a specific “perceived” age isn’t going to be as effective as it is thought to be.

I can’t imagine how many advertised products I won’t see just because I am a female in her 30′s with children, even though I may actually be out shopping for my husband or dad. Those ads may never reach me. Facial recognition isn’t going to be able to recognize what is on my mind.

I’m not on board with the idea, and I’d have to see some pretty effective demonstrations to change my mind,” said Tonia Sanders, The Chatty Momma.

Rene Syler, The Good Enough Mother, had a different opinion, “I don’t mind that kind of target marketing. My skin (and I) a have diff needs than a 20 year old. I want to spend my $ on what will work best for a woman my age. I’m all about embracing what I got and want to take care of it. I want and need the proper product and information.”

What do you think about using facial recognition for targeting messages?

One Response to “Should Brands be using facial recognition to better target messages to you?”

  1. Wow, this is high tech! I don’t really mind it – the companies are going to use it whether we agree or not. Whether it really works, that’s another question, but that’s not something the customer has to answer.

    Bicultural Mama

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