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 A contributing writer for Fast Company, Lucas Conley is an experienced journalist with an eye for stories that change how we see the world. Widely published in a number of[…]

Lucas Conley explains the alchemy of very smart billboards.

Question: What is your personal reaction to marketing overload?

Lucas Conley: It’s interesting. It’s-- We see 3 to 5,000 ads a day and that’s just in Columbus, Ohio, or anywhere in the country, let alone New York. We are just inundated with advertising in big cities. London and Tokyo are other good examples. And you start to- writing a book like this you start to think about those things more. You are-- I’m aware now for instance that there are billboards out there in 30 cities in the U.S. that can actually track you as you walk by or drive by and gauge how long you watch the billboard, check- just determine your age from your face, determine your gender, soon your ethnicity when the software gets good enough, and there- you begin to realize how good marketers are getting at pitching to us, at catching us, at getting our attention. So that has become something that’s one of the biggest benefits to me as a researcher is just knowing really what- what’s going on out there, and that seems like a lot of people don’t hear about some of the latest developments in marketing, things like neuromarketing and understanding how the brain works and searching for the buy button as marketers will call it, things like the technology involved in billboards that can read our faces. Just the cutting edge of marketing is not an area that people really talk about much or when they do it kind of seems to flirt through the headlines. So we deal with it on a daily basis. We’re saturated in it but we know very little about how it works and what marketers think when they’re trying to find out what we’re thinking so that’s- that was- that’s been a big benefit for me. I feel like it’s been a benefit for me, but I’m probably just as vulnerable to any marketing as anybody.


Recorded on: 7/23/08