Russian Billboard Changes Ads If Approached By Police

In what is either an incredibly interesting or incredibly terrifying development, an ad agency in Russia has designed an outdoor billboard that automatically hides when it spots the police approaching it.

The reason for the invention is because of Russia’s ban on food imported from the European Union and the United States. It began last summer and has hit Russian grocery store Don Giulio Salumeria particularly hard since, as its main business was selling authentic Italian food.

As this is Russia, where the rule of law is weak and few bribes changes everything, it wasn’t hard for the grocery store to continue to import and sell its fine Italian imports. But advertising this to consumers was more difficult so it hired ad agency The 23 to create the high tech billboard.

The computer driven billboard uses a camera and facial recognition software, tweaked to recognize the logos on the uniforms worn by Russian police. If they get too close to the billboard it switches to an ad for Russian nesting dolls instead of imported Italian pasts.

While this is mostly a publicity stunt than actual illicit advertising, given police can clearly see the original advert before the ads switch, it does point to a new future for out of home advertising.

Billboards of the future will recognize passersby and switch ads depending on if you’re male or female, wearing a sports team logo or have a beard. Such advertising could be effective or could very well be super creepy.

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