Tesco OptimEyes screens

Tesco’s OptimEyes screens will detect gender and age group

Tesco is set to install new screens at its petrol stations that select which adverts to display by scanning the faces of queuing customers.

The retailer will introduce the OptimEyes screen, which was developed by Lord Alan Sugar’s Amscreen, to all 450 of its UK petrol stations, in a five-year deal.

“Yes, it’s like something out of Minority Report, but this could change the face of British retail and our plans are to expand the screens into as many supermarkets as possible,” said Simon Sugar, son of Alan and CEO of Amscreen.

The screen, which is positioned by the till, scans the eyes of queuing customers to determine their age and gender, then runs tailored advertisements. The technology also adjusts its choice of ads based on date and time, and monitors customer purchases.

Retailers could run a Red Bull ad during the morning rush, for instance, and switch to advertising a women’s magazine if the technology detected several women in the queue.

OptimEyes would reach a weekly audience of more than five million adults, predicted Tesco. The ads will each run for up to 10 seconds, on a 100-second loop.

“The ability to tailor content based on time and location means this can be extremely useful and timely for interacting with our customers,” said Peter Cattell, category director for Tesco petrol stations.

OptimEyes will also provide ad-funded branded content based around big events, such as the FIFA World Cup.

“Brands deserve to know not just an estimation of how many eyeballs are viewing their adverts, but who they are too,” said Sugar.

The technology would not invade privacy, he added. “The OptimEyes doesn’t store images or recognise people, but just works out gender and sorts customers into one of three age brackets.”