Advertisers in London are using a brand new way to bombard people with commercials, by targeting people with video-capable cell phones and some free time on their hands. And the technology could be coming to America soon.
This latest assault by advertisers is an extremely direct approach. A radio transmitter using Bluetooth (search) technology searches for technologically capable cell phones in a certain area, such as an airport or train station, and then sends a video clip to the phone for the owner to watch at will.
"We've found the most successful locations are places where people have what we call 'dwell time', they're standing there for a couple of minutes," said Alasdair Scott of Filter UK (search), the inventor of “Bluecasting.”
At one London railway station alone, over 10,000 passing cell phones are bombarded with video commercials every day.
Advertisers are also seeking those Bluetooth phones that owners have chosen to disable for privacy, which is an area of worry to British ad regulators who say advertisers have a duty to be clear about their purpose.
"Sometimes consumers aren't expecting to receive advertising in these ways and it can be confusing for people,” said Claire Forbes of the British Advertising Standards Authority (search). “If they get a message and they don't necessarily realize it's a commercial message, they're not sure what it is, and it's coming to them via a medium they're not familiar with."
But advertisers are excited at having another medium to use. They say that it's more accountable to clients because the computer system knows exactly how many ads are being downloaded to cell phones.
Backers of the technology say that they hope to have the technology going live to the United States in places like New York City soon.
“We’re getting a lot of inquiries,” said Richard Rowley of Meridien Outdoor (search). “We've got a lot of business up front with Christmas in mind."
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Amy Kellogg.