Signs of the Times: Digital Ads Allow Marketers to Target Pitches

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Signs of the Times: Digital Ads Allow Marketers to Target Pitches

In the 2002 science-fiction film “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise’s character is harassed by moving, talking, targeted advertisements everywhere he goes. New technology is bringing that scenario from the movie screen to real life for everyday consumers.

Digital signage — those increasingly ubiquitous television and plasma-screen displays in shops, train stations, banks and other public spaces — is giving companies the ability to change messages quickly and target them more effectively than paper ads.

TV screens have been cropping up in stores for more than a decade, but increasingly, those screens are connected and controlled from a main office via the Internet or satellite. This allows companies to change their messages at different points of the day and better tailor them for different locations.

Companies such as Scala, IBM and Microspace Communications Corp. are helping get digital signs into diners, health clubs, arcades, bowling alleys and other locations.

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