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Technology

The changing face of advertising

By Julie Clothier for CNN

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Advertisers are cashing in as supermarkets become more high-tech.
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A routine trip to the local supermarket may not be synonymous with technology just yet but supermarkets are increasingly becoming high-tech, and the potential for both advertiser and consumer is endless, say advertising experts.

From self-service checkouts, to online shopping, 30-second advertisements on television screens in aisles, to mobile scanning, supermarkets are already embracing technology.

By November, UK supermarket chain Tesco will have advertising on large televisions screens in the aisles of 300 of its stores, with the advertisements changing every two weeks.

But according to Andy Murray, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X, technology will play an even bigger role in large-scale stores, such as supermarkets, which also opens up the possibilities for advertising.

His company, the U.S.-based shopper marketing company formerly named ThompsonMurray, was bought by advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi on June 1.

Murray says a lot of technology that will make shopping a more interactive experience has already been created but the difficulty is making the ideas a reality, which is where he hopes Saatchi & Saatchi X will play an integral role.

One concept will see customers' mobile phone or a separate in-store wireless device deliver personalized messages to them while they are in store.

This will vary from promotions and discounts to information on products the customer is interested in buying.

Shoppers will also be able to tune into the shop's radio station while in their car on their way to the store, similar to the service that several airports offer, whereby travelers tune in to the airport's radio station and find out information before they arrive there.

"They will be able to tune in and get information about sale items or news before they even enter the shop," Murray says.

He says computer screens attached to trolleys are also not far from becoming a reality, which will enable the customer to keep track of what they have bought and how much they have spent, as well as find out more information about the products they are buying.

He says the greater the level of technology involved in shopping, the more "personal touch" will be needed, to ensure it does not isolate and overwhelm customers.

"If it was just about advertising, it wouldn't work. It has to be about creating intimacy with the customer. It's about interacting with the customer, empowering the customer and giving them a choice."

Murray says advertising is increasingly become more about bringing the brand to life and using technology was a way of doing this.

He says "behind-the-scenes" technology has also allowed companies, including supermarkets, to capture data about their customers and tailor-make advertising to their needs as a direct result of this.

Deborah Lee, from London-based outdoor advertising company Poster Publicity, says advertising is increasingly becoming interactive and technology is playing a key part in this.

At the recent premier of the film "I, Robot", advertisers created a walking billboard by having people walking around wearing a T-shirt with a built-in television screen, which played clips of the movie.

Lee's company is currently using a vest jacket, created by company Adwalkers, to sell its clients' products.

The vest jacket has a television screen that carries a message but it can also be used as an interactive device, whereby consumers' can log in to the product Web site.

"It's about empowering the customer with information and using high-tech devices to do this," says Lee.


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