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Outdoor advertising gets targeted with new technology

LONDON - Advertisers will soon be given access to information about consumers that will allow them to target more effectively through outdoor advertising, following the development of a tracking device that records the movements of people.

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VNU-owned Nielsen Media Research in the US has developed technology that tracks a person's movement and can then be used to decide the positioning of outdoor ad campaigns.

The system works by recording the activities of volunteers who have agreed to carry a mobile handset-sized device that uses global positioning technology, which records their movements as well as gender and age.

The information is then relayed to NMR's Tampa, Florida-based database, where it is overlaid with a map of billboard sites.

The technology has been tested in South Africa and a pilot project is set to run in Chicago in the next few months.

Speaking to the Financial Times, NMR president Susan Whiting said the technology could be rolled out very quickly. "We'll assess the results before deciding where to go," she said.

The information could enable advertisers to target their messages at consumers at certain times of the day and in certain areas, making outdoor campaigns more effective at a time when companies are looking to get more value out of their marketing budgets.

NMR is also said to be looking at developing ways of forecasting advertising trends.

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