You stand in front of the digital billboard as a high-definition camera scans your face. Behind the scenes, facial recognition software tries to figure out if your male or female. If you're the latter, you'll be shown an ad informing you of how women have their choices limited each and every day. If you're the former, well, no ad for you.
Such a billboard, commissioned by children's charity Plan UK as part of its "I am a girl" campaign, is currently on display on Oxford St in London. It's been up for four days and will run for a total of two weeks. The choice to restrict the ad's content to women only is meant to "highlight the fact that women and girls across the world are denied choices and opportunities on a daily basis due to poverty and discrimination," according to Plan UK.
"Although we’re not giving men and boys the choice to see the full ad on this occasion -– so we get a glimpse of what it's like to have basic choices taken away -– boys and men play a vital role in helping girls to be all they can be," added Marie Staunton, Plan UK's CEO.
It appears the ad won't scan random passers-by, an initial interaction will be required to "opt-in". Plan says that the combo of touch screens and face scanning is a "UK first in interactive advertising".
The Guardian's story on the ad suggests the recognition software is pretty accurate -- I can't say it'd be much of an ego boost to be misidentified as the opposite gender.
Bonus fact: It's a little hard to tell, but the woman interacting with the ad in the lead photo is Australia's Gabriella Cilmi. The press release on the ad doesn't mention how she's involved, though I imagine it's in some sort of spokesperson / ambassador role.
Image: Anthony Devlin / PA via The Guardian.
Minority Report anyone?