Face-Scanning Cameras Coming to Tesco Petrol Stations to Show You Even More Lovely Adverts

By Gary Cutlack on at

Tesco is reported to have signed a deal to install a face-scanning camera technology in all of its 450 UK petrol stations, which will be used to ID customers and suggest relevant adverts -- like which brand of massive chocolate bar they might like to impulsively add to their petrol bill.

The technology, which goes under the name OptimEyes, scans the faces of bored queueing customers, detects their sex and approximate age, then serves them with appropriate advertising. So it might be a bit embarrassing if you're looking rough one morning and the system suggests you may be in need of no-refusal life assurance for the over-55s.

Tesco reckons around five million pairs of eyeballs will see these ads each week, with the core idea being to target ads by gender. If three women are lining up to pay, ads for stuff like air freshener plugins and exciting new colours of toilet roll will run. If there's a load of angry men tutting impatiently to pay, Sky Sports commercials will pop up. Advertisers ought to love it, as they get exact numbers and rough age/sex demographics of who viewed their ads, plus they'll know when their ads for razor blades are most likely to be seen by unkempt men.

The system also adapts its advert choices based on the time of day, so if you're looking old and tired at 7:35am, it might start playing adverts for coffee and cakes. Maybe it could even boot up the nearby coffee machine and a fan, then waft the smell of roasted beans in your direction. [The Grocer]