Monday, June 04, 2007

Spatial advertising invasion

I was playing around this weekend on Google Map's new Street View function. It allows you to see the map location you're looking at as if you're sitting on top of a minivan. It's nothing new, Yahoo was teasing this stuff about a year ago. So if you ever wanted to travel virtually to San Francisco, check it out.

Myself, I revisited the Sir Francis Drake hotel. I stayed there a few years ago and one of the memorable things was seeing Tom Sweeney, the Beefeater doorman. He's apparently the "most photographed person in San Francisco" and has been standing there for decades. I find it very appropriate that in the Google Map street view image, you see Tom there, greeting some hotel guests (look closely behind the red van). Can you say great ad?
Speaking of ads. Can you start to see the potential of this thing for ad placement? Imagine if you will, a couple years from now, when Map functions are completely 3D virtual with real life skin overlays. While you're looking for directions to the nearest dry cleaner, you're flying in this virtual space. On the way to the dry cleaner from your home, you pass by billboards. Except, these billboards don't show what's there in real life, they show ads by Google, recommending a new dry cleaner. That, my friends, is the future of local ad targeting. Taken to the extreme, you can imagine ads on roads, on buildings, in place of actual store fronts and their signage. When the real world limitations on ads is lifted, there's no telling where they'd pop up or if you'd even know they're there.

Remind me to up my stocks in Google.

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