You’re walking down the sidewalk. Your cell phone alerts you that you have a message. You push a button and an ad (text, audio or video) for a restaurant across the street appears on the screen. That ad is followed by another ad for the theatre up the street. The Java Café sends you an invitation to try their new Fair Trade Blend. Is this a marketer’s dream or a consumer’s nightmare? Ready or not, Google and a few other companies including Proximity Media are designing new ways to put advertising in the palm of your hand using Bluetooth and WI-FI technology.
And don’t think you’ll get away with receiving one message. When your cell phone enters a proximity zone it is assigned a unique identifier. The system profiles you, sending ads based on what you’ve previously received.
If you have received ad A, then send ad B or C, etc.
If you have received an MP3 file (audio ad), then send video ad.
If it's noon a nearby restaurant could send you a lunch coupon.
All of this within about 300 feet of any particular business.
We’ll have to keep an eye on this technology. Imagine a dozen businesses in a few block area of your town sending you ads on your cell phone the minute you get out of your car to buy stamps at the post office, go to the bank next door, have lunch or sit down at your desk. Not just once, but everytime you do these things. If you’re within range it appears that you’re fair game.
On one hand there should be plenty of work for writers and producers of content. On the other hand, in a world of over communication consumers could revolt and turn off their cell phones more often.
And wouldn’t that be a nice thing?