Mini is launching a Minority Report-style campaign in the US which will have billboards flashing personalised messages to drivers as they pass by in their cars.
The boards, which usually carry traditional advertising messages, are programmed to identify approaching Mini drivers through a coded signal from a radio chip embedded in their key fob. The futuristic technology is similar to that featured in the 2002 film starring Tom Cruise.
The messages from the Mini billboards are personal and based on questionnaires that owners fill out. For example, the boards may say to a lawyer: ‘Moving at the speed of justice’ or ‘The special of the day is speed’ for a chef.
Mini is test-marketing the billboards in New York, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. A spokeswoman for Mini UK says the company has ³no immediate plans² to run the campaign in the UK.
The US poster campaign is likely to face criticism from campaigners concerned at the growing number of digital billboards on roadsides throughout the country. But Mini¹s head of North American operations, James McDowell, says: “People buy Minis because they really want to have more fun in their days. We want everything about our marketing to fit that.” It is thought the idea was first suggested to Mini by San Francisco advertising agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, which wanted to build on the already ‘tribal’ feeling among Mini owners.
The billboards will revert to showing standard Mini advertising after playing the personalised messages.