Plan UK uses facial recognition technology for latest outdoor campaign

 In outdoor

Hats off to Plan UK and Clear Channel for pushing the boundaries and implementing the first campaign in London using Facial Recognition technology (can we call this FR?).

I went down to the site this morning on Oxford Street (directly opposite Selfridges) to see it for myself ahead of my interview with Sonia Gallego today for Al Jazeera English.

In the video below, you can see exactly how it works.

Video ThumbnailRead more about this at

If it detects you are a girl (they claim 90% accuracy), then you see the full ad.

If you are a guy, you only see the website ad and are reminded that some girls don’t have choices.

This is a really smart use of technology on a number of fronts.

  1. The campaign is all about choices
  2. The technology is targeted – towards females
  3. It is interactive and helps cut through all of the competing noise on the streets of London

I think it is also a smart move from Clear Channel to have a charity campaign about choices as the first execution – who is going to bad mouth a charity trying to create a better life for women?

Will we see more of this? Most likely, yes we will.  The challenge for advertisers will be not to go down the creepy option and overtly recognise and record faces.  A “Hi Andrew Grill” based on recognising my face would freak even me out – so let’s not go there.

The holy grail for advertisers right now is real-time, relevant, and targeted.  This execution ticks all the boxes.

My only criticism is that the hashtag is a tad to long #choicesforgirls

Well done Clear Channel and Plan UK.

People reading this post also read ...


Futurist Keynote Speaker and former IBM Global Managing Partner, Andrew is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption and emerging technologies. He is a multiple TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Watch his speaking showreel here, enquire about availability & fees here or listen to his latest Podcast - "The Practical Futurist Podcast" on your favourite app.


Leave a Comment