Renault tries ‘not to be creepy’ as it uses vehicle-scanning tech to personalise outdoor ads

Renault is using “pioneering” vehicle recognition technology in its latest out-of-home campaign in a bid to respond to consumers’ increasing desire for personalised and relevant content.

The tech, created by Ocean Outdoor, allows Renault to target stationary traffic to advertise its latest Renault Mégane model. It is able to identify the make, model and colour of stationary vehicles from their number plates and then serve the occupants content based on audience demographics and data relevant to their vehicle.

The campaign, which was produced by Publicis, involves Renault displaying a personalised message to consumers driving past Holland Park roundabout in West London and challenging them to a game of ‘I spy’. Messages could include ‘Hello, you in the silver hatchback’.

Renault’s head of marketing communications Adam Wood says this is the first time the technology has been used in the UK and allows the brand to get “one step closer to drivers”.

He told Marketing Week: “I absolutely believe this is the future of out-of-home and we’ll be moving more towards these interactive formats as a brand. Consumers are increasingly expecting content to be relevant to them, so the more personalised we can be the more compelling we are.”

However, the brand had numerous ethical challenges to overcome to ensure its personalised campaign did not come across as intrusive or creepy.

“We had many debates on what [the personalised content] should look like. It needed to feel unintrusive and avoid making any judgement on who the drivers are [on a personal level]. We ended up with challenging drivers to a game of ‘I spy’ as it won’t fail to make people smile,” admitted Wood.

In terms of campaign success, the brand will be looking at generating brand awareness and familiarity of its new product, as well as sales leads and an increase in test drives. The brand also hopes to change its image on a wider scale.

Going forward, the car marque is putting a heavier focus on technology as it looks to immerse consumers in the brand.

Wood concluded: “We’ll be using 360 degree technology more and more, as it gives consumers an immersive experience – almost like a virtual reality test drive. So immersive video content will be very big for us in the future.”