After the U.S. and several European Union countries sanctioned Russia for its activities in the Ukraine last year, Russia quickly retaliated with import bans on food products from said countries.
Unsurprisingly, enterprising chefs and food fans in Russia still want their imported Italian cheeses and Norwegian salmon. Gizmodo reports that a Russian ad agency called The 23 has been hired by Moscow Italian food imports specialist Don Giulio Salumeria and is taking advantage of facial recognition software paired with billboard-switching software to change ads when it sees police coming.
Let’s take a look:
Please note that we didn’t slow this GIF down in any way. The police approaching the billboard are obviously suspicious about what they just saw. You’d have to be completely unobservant not to be.
If Don Giulio Salumeria wanted to reach the widest market possible, and possibly make a broader international point about the Russian import food bans, it’s succeeded. But stealthy, this isn’t.
Gizmodo also points out that such software could be used to target billboards at you for wearing your favorite sports team’s jersey, or other recognizable brand logo attire. While that’s certainly true, it’s been three years since a South Korean mall rolled out billboards that used facial recognition to target advertising, and we still haven’t seen a major uptick in that tech poppin up around the globe.
We’re not saying it couldn’t happen at some point, and that it won’t be completely creepy if it does—just that it hasn’t yet. In the meantime, we suddenly have an overwhelming craving for Parmigiano-Reggiano that we need to attend to.