A New Facebook Marketing Strategy; Awesome or Unsettling?

August 27, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                  return to JayVee Media Link LLC

As an active participant in the world of marketing, I always appreciate novel approaches for attracting new and repeat customers.  Every so often, though, a new system causes me to pause and wonder if we may be overstepping our bounds.  I recently experienced that reaction, and am curious about YOUR take on this new marketing method.

I remember the privacy issues that were brought up recently when it was announced that Facebook had acquired face.com, a firm that pioneered the use of facial recognition technology.  Many users of the social media platform balked at the notion of having faces in pictures they uploaded highlighted, and seeing suggestions for tagging.  A little too intrusive was the general consensus.  If that was disturbing to so many people, I can’t help but wonder what they will think of this pilot program being rolled out:

Facedeal face detection demonstration

A camera system called Facedeals is being tested in various restaurants and bars.  The camera will capture and attempt to recognize a person’s face as he/she enters an establishment.  If authorization is granted via Facebook, the system will then connect with the person’s Facebook account. There it will check him/her into the location and gather profile information based on his/her “like” history and preferences in order to customize special deals for the location being patronized. It is important for me to note that the program was not developed by Facebook itself. Rather, it is the brainchild of Redpepper, a Nashville and Atlanta based ad agency.

This kind of tracking is already used commonly; to see it in action, take a look at the ads that pop up on the search pages and social platforms we visit.  It’s not a coincidence that they all target our specific interests.  I am simultaneously impressed and disturbed by the whole practice.  It’s nice to have special deals delivered to me virtually on demand when I fancy a service or product. But it also gives me a creepy, Big-Brother-is-watching feeling.  It is a bit much for me to think that cameras may be recording my face and attempting to identify me when I walk into stores – regardless of whether or not I authorize the app. How else is the system going to know if I did?

Would you authorize Facedeals to access your personal information on Facebook?  How do you feel about this new pilot marketing program?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Facedeals camera image

For more information, see this Laughing Squid post by EDW Lynch.

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4 thoughts on “A New Facebook Marketing Strategy; Awesome or Unsettling?

    • Even though I can see the appeal from a marketing perspective, I am very much with you on this issue, Sandra. There is something very Big Brother-ish about the new strategy. Some people compare it with platforms like Foursquare. But you need to physically check in on Foursquare before you learn about special deals. With Facedeals once the app is authorized no further action is required from you. Creepy indeed. The last thing I want to do when I walk into an establishment is case the place for that Facedeals camera…

  1. I agree Jeanine. While I can also see the appeal from a marketing perspective, it just doesn’t sit right with me. These days I feel as though there’s no such thing as privacy anymore.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Von. It doesn’t sit well with me either. Any time another encroachment on our privacy takes place, for whatever noble reason given, we become that much more vulnerable to abuse by the system. I probably should be more “progressive” in my marketing perspective…but I must say I hope this new pilot program doesn’t go any further than its testing phase.

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