Innovation That Matters

Smart Russian billboard hides secret advert from the police


The hiding ad is a smart billboard advertising banned European goods, which automatically scrolls out of rotation when the police approach.

Earlier this year, Russia introduced a ban on European products in response to the EU’s sanctions against the country over the Ukraine crisis. This has meant harsh consequences for merchants who usually sell European foods. While many have chosen to comply, an Italian grocery store called Don Giulio Salumeria is one store that hasn’t, and is using a smart billboard advert to get the message across to customers without informing the police.

The hiding ad was produced with the help of creative agency The 23. Placed in a prime outdoor location in Moscow, the poster informs passersby that Don Giulio Salumeria is continuing to sell authentic European products including meats, cheeses and wine. But the smart billboard is equipped with a camera and facial recognition software, adapted to spot oncoming police uniforms. As a result, anytime law enforcement officials come in close proximity with the ad, it is rigged to scroll out of rotation and display — with a bit of tongue-in-cheek — an ad for a Matryoshka doll shop.

We recently wrote about a billboard that evolves based on passerby reaction. How else could this technology be used to help advertisers cater primarily to their targeted audience?



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