Passers-by on a London avenue had been not too long ago amazed to see a fleeting picture of a pink tongue protruding from fruitily plump lips, seemingly suspended in mid-air.
It was the well-known brand for the Rolling Stones and was a part of an experiment by tech start-up Lightvert.
Its know-how can produce photos that look like 200m (656ft) excessive, however which solely exist within the eye of the viewer for a fraction of a second.
So might we be on the verge of seeing big digital adverts in our cities, much like these featured within the seminal 1982 sci-fi movie Blade Runner?
Lightvert actually hopes so.
Its tech, referred to as Echo, works by using a slim – not more than 200mm – strip of reflective materials fastened to the facet of a constructing. A high-power projector mounted under or above the strip beams mild off the reflector immediately into the viewer’s eye.
The picture seems momentarily, exploiting what’s referred to as the “persistence of imaginative and prescient” impact – the way in which sparklers appear to go away a path of sunshine while you wave them round shortly.
“Echo know-how is being properly acquired by those that have seen it so far,” says Daniel Siden, Lightvert’s chief govt.
“Viewers are curious as to the way it works and have interaction with it in a approach you simply do not see with conventional display screen media.”
He’s hoping that landlords will seize the chance to show their buildings into revenue-generating digital billboards which can be enormous, but bodily unobtrusive.
These are very early days for the agency, however Mr Siden believes out of doors promoting usually is overdue a leap ahead in innovation.
However would you need a billboard to focus on adverts at you particularly?
That’s what happened in Moscow recently. Drivers approaching a digital billboard had been proven adverts for Jaguar’s new SUV (sports activities utility automobile), however provided that they had been driving a special make of SUV.
A machine-learning digicam recognised the automobile’s make and altered the advert to focus on these drivers.
The billboard picture was adaptive, too, exhibiting the Jaguar towards a darkish background if it was night-time, or manoeuvring by snow if the climate was unhealthy.
The adverts had been developed by Synaps Labs and founder Aleksey Utkin says there are plans to check comparable adverts within the US this summer time.
However will not such adverts be dangerously distracting?
A study on driver distraction by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute discovered that digital billboards attracted the gaze of drivers for for much longer than different indicators.
Researchers discovered drivers usually took their eyes off the highway for greater than two seconds – a threshold which other studies have found to be dangerous.
Some bricks-and-mortar retailers, corresponding to video video games specialist Sport, are utilizing augmented actuality (AR) tech to convey their store home windows to life.
Overlaying shifting digital photos on to the true world, as seen by a smartphone digicam, caught the general public creativeness after the discharge of Nintendo’s Pokemon Go sport.
“AR is not only a nice-to-see know-how – it has a much more in depth industrial utility for manufacturers, the place outcomes may be tracked and measured,” says Richard Corps, co-founder of AR Home windows.
“We’re seeing a a lot wider trade use of AR tech in numerous environments, corresponding to in schooling in addition to retail.”
The uptake of AR in promoting is more likely to enhance as a result of calls for of a brand new technology of shopper, says Alex Fenton, a lecturer in digital enterprise at Salford Enterprise College.
“AR has numerous potential,” he says. “The know-how has been round for a few years however had didn’t seize the creativeness of the mainstream.
“However with issues like Pokemon Go, there’s now an acceptance from younger folks particularly about AR and its advantages.”
Just a few years in the past retailers had been excited concerning the potential of pinging you particular affords and adverts to your telephone primarily based on the place you had been within the retailer or Excessive Road.
However “proximity advertising and marketing” because it’s referred to as, has thus far didn’t take off, primarily as a result of excessive prices of putting in and sustaining Bluetooth beacons used to find customers exactly.
However Devicescape eschews Bluetooth and as a substitute tracks smartphone customers by way of the usage of wi-fi hotspots.
“Our software program establishes an individual’s presence in a selected location primarily based on their proximity to the wi-fi community at that location,” says Owen Geddes, the agency’s vp of market improvement.
“It might be wherever, a grocery store, a live performance corridor, or a bus.”
This has resulted in a 13% rise in prospects clicking by to product web sites, he maintains.
As soon as conscious of an individual’s location, the system triggers the supply of a focused advert to that smartphone containing a hyperlink to a chunk of on-line branded content material.
“It might be a reduction provide to be used within the store the individual is visiting, or a chunk of content material corresponding to a film trailer,” says Mr Geddes.
“Importantly, it’s all the time related to the patron due to their location.”
However Chris Daly, chief govt of the Chartered Institute of Advertising and marketing (CIM), says prospects are instinctively sceptical about how their information is used, and thinks the trade might want to tread fastidiously.
CIM analysis has proven that 92% of shoppers are cautious about information assortment and use.
“When utilizing adtech, entrepreneurs should hold this in thoughts and guarantee they don’t overstep their attain when making use of shopper information,” says Mr Daly.
Possibly sticking to massive adverts within the sky could be much less controversial.