This Bin Knows Where You’ve Been

In Customer Engagement, Featured on App, Marketing and Sales by Vaughn Highfield

Renew, Bin, Advertising, Signs, London, Marketing

Lets be honest, some adverts out there in the wilderness are rubbish. People may well have toiled over them for months on end, but sometimes they just don't resonate with the general public once released into the wild. However, one piece of advertising technology thought up by Renew, and developed by London-based Presence Aware, wants your advert to be as close to rubbish as it can.

In fact, it wants them to be put right on the side of bins across the city of London. However, these aren't any normal bins. These bins react to passers by and their phones, altering advertisements on screens and pushing offers and incentives to the user.

These bin-based adverts scan your iPhone or Android smartphone and then take the information and relay it onto a nearby bin screen.

The adverts would react to show customers adverts of interest, as well as pushing out related content. One example could be a restaurant chain wanting to secure rival business. If they already knew you were a loyal customer, why would they target you with an advert that means nothing to you? Well, this bin technology means that the advertisement would change to reflect what they already know about you as a customer.

It may sound strange, but there are already bins around London that have screens on the sides of them that change, however there are only 12 bins with the tracking devices installed within, almost all of which are along Cheapside near St.Pauls Cathedral.

Retails still haven't totally been sold on the concept yet, and places would need trackers installed to work out data surrounding their phone so it could become more effective with advertising in the street.

However, in the first month of installing trackers, the bins racked up 106,629 people on its busiest day. It even noticed their presence 946,016 times.

There are obviously issues around privacy, but as it runs entirely off MAC addresses and WiFi capture, it hits a grey zone.

"From our point of view, it's open to everybody, everyone can buy that data," Memari told Quartz. "London is the most heavily surveillanced city in the world…As long as we don't add a name and home address, it's legal."

"The chances are, if we don't see you on the first, second, or third day, we'll eventually capture you," he said. "We just need you to have it on once."

What are your thoughts on these reactive bin advertisements?

Working in London myself, and actually walking past those bins far too frequently for my knowledge, I don't even look at the screens in the busy hubbub that is London. Perhaps they're near the rubbish for a reason.