Imagine walking up to a billboard and an advertisement appears featuring your face.
It sounds like something from a sci-fi film but it’s now possible and about to be launched by the team at Offer Moments.
In fact, it was a scene from a film that inspired the two entrepreneurs behind the business.
Adbul Alim and his business partner Shahzad Mughal were looking for some inspiration and decided to watch some movies.
“There’s a scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise walks into a shopping centre and all the boards start to change and begin talking to him,” he recalls.
“We thought ‘wow, if we could build that, it’d be amazing’.”
The system Offer Moments has created uses information from consumers’ social media accounts to target the advertising.
It will ask them for permission to use their personal details via Facebook sign-in.
Alim explains: “When you download an app and it says ‘tap here to log in via Facebook’, you give that app permission to use your details for marketing purposes.
“So we ask ‘do you want to see your face on a billboard?’ and millennials are very interested in that.
“As soon as you do, it verifies the image and monitors your moment.
“Your phone contains an ID and you’ve given it permission to see your social media profile and it creates a string of trails so it knows where you’re moving inside the shopping centre.
“It only works 70m away from a billboard, so the more billboards around the place, the better it works.
“As soon as you leave the shopping centre, it stops tracking you.”
For advertisers, it can allow them to target certain demographics and the entrepreneur says it will generate revenue on a similar model to pay-per-click.
“You only pay when the particular person from your demographic walks in front of the billboard and you can select how much you want to pay each day,” he says.
“It means adverting isn’t wasted anymore.”
Alim says there has been a lot of interest from shopping centres around the country.
The business is based at Entrepreneurial Spark in Manchester. The dedicated ‘Hatchery’ at the incubator site was established by NatWest in partnership with KPMG and is currently home to 80 businesses, many with a tech background.
Each intake gives the entrepreneurs a base for an initial six months and access to NatWest staff and mentoring sessions with KPMG.
“It’s all happening in sunny Manchester,” he says.
“We should be in Silicon Valley really because it looks like we’ve created something that can really change the face of advertising forever and hopefully it will.”