Where's Waldo?

where's waldoRemember the popular children’s series Where’s Waldo?

If some of the more talked about apps emerging from the recently concluded innovators and startup gathering, SXSW, gain traction, that series will be a whimsical relic of the past – and so will many of the concepts that have long ruled advertising.

According to ComputerWorld, the hot apps were all about location based technology (LBS).  LBS apps that can notify someone when they are near another person that they don’t know but with whom they share social media interests.  Apps that allow users to find others who are checked in at a location through Foursquare and ask questions such as how long a wait line is or what the special of the day, is and if it is any good, and is there an Entertainment coupon  or deal on now.  Still other apps that allow you to post what goods you are interested in, with sellers then searching you and making an offer based upon target price and their distance from you.

where's waldo

The opportunities for not only location based ads but contextual ads is great (how about having an ad for breath mints appear to the user who is being told that a new friend with similar social interests is near?).  Or imagine ads that integrate location with search technology to determine what your needs are using the questions you posted to others on Foursquare or your offer/deal preferences?

The possibilities are amazing.  But one thing seems certain, we may have to add these types of innovative LBS apps to the growing list of things that smartphones have enabled to kill off the media buyer. Their finely honed craft of using demographic data and usage research to determine when and where to place the right ad might become as obsolete as the stand alone camera, gaming console and PC.

imagecredit: foursquare

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Dean DeBiaseA serial CEO and innovation speaker, Dean DeBiase is the Chairman and CEO of entertainment.com, co-founder of boardroominnovation.com and Innovation Excellence, and a co-author of The Big Moo.

Dean DeBiase




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