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Mini Introduces RFID-Activated Billboards

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the L.A.-Story-meets-Minority-Report dept.

Privacy 138

frinkster writes "MINI USA has placed interactive billboards in 4 US cities (Chicago, Miami, New York and San Francisco) and invited a few hundred MINI owners in those cities to join their targeted 'advertisement' pilot program. The owners sign up on MINI's website and receive an RFID keyfob in the mail. When that MINI owner drives by the billboard, a targeted message appears. Each owner tells MINI what to show when they drive by, such as 'Jim, you are one sexy beast.' If the pilot program is successful, MINI plans to put up more billboards in more cities and allow every owner to participate. MINI swears that no personal information in contained in the keyfobs and that all communication between the MINI and the owner is subject to their privacy policy and thus the program is completely safe. But how well will they keep their billboard logs away from the prying eyes of law enforcement or private detectives? And what are they doing to prevent 'hackers' from changing the personal messages to insults, such as 'Jim, nice to see you finally emerge from your mother's basement'?" MINI calls the interactive billboards "Motherboards."

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138 comments

Ya... (4, Funny)

Swimport (1034164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563760)

This has good idea written all over it.

Re:Ya... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564012)

I, for one, welcome our new RFID-reading Motherboards.

Correction... (4, Informative)

eta526 (833281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564040)

MINI is calling them Motorboards, not Motherboards. The article is incorrect.

Re:Ya... (2, Insightful)

CaptainDefragged (939505) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564454)

Yes, just what we need. Yet another distraction from the task of driving. I wonder how many people will be killed because they were too busy reading their personalised billboard. Motorists need less distractions not more.

Billboard Video to follow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566068)

Think this is a "good idea", wait till someone comes up with a more advanced version that can even handle full billboard video. Just think of the hacks and the traffic jams that could come with those. Imagine what hacks people might even be willing to pay for. Imagine the spread of RFID tags with targeted marketing as the goal and politicians will love it.

More like (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563768)

"Jim, I'm finally glad to see you emerge from your mother."

Re:More like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564006)

Are you refering to his birth or something sick ?

Fun! (4, Funny)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563796)

This could be fun to put out fake terror warnings on billboards to get people to drive faster :)

Re:Fun! (4, Interesting)

linefeed0 (550967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564074)

Fun? If you think jail is fun, and you would like to share this man's fate [thesmokinggun.com], I suggest you do so.

Re:Fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564410)

That man should have use TOR.

Re:Fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17565960)

lol 4chan

Also, lol FBI. They're just pissed off that other people have better ideas than they do. It's hard to defend against what you don't expect.

Re:Fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17566002)

Are you a bad enough dude to mess with football?

Re:Fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564192)

WHY IS MINI SHOUTING? It was far more polite when it was British. Must be the German influence.

Re:Fun! (1)

AugustZephyr (989775) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564436)

FTFA:
The idea is simple, first give MINI USA some irreverent information about yourself (nothing too personal). Then MINI USA then sends out a special keyfob (4-6 weeks after sign-up) that identifies you to each of the Motorboards you pass. When the boards detect that you are about the drive by, they deliver a personal message based on the information you originally gave.
You don't get to make the message. It is derived from the information you give MINI USA.

Re:Fun! (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564574)

Yeah, they'd have too many people who thought it was funny to put "shit shit boobs" up there for them to give you free reign with the messages.

Re: traffic (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565016)

"This could be fun to put out fake terror warnings on billboards to get people to drive faster :)"

Or to get them to slow down: "...smokey on your right, 1/4 mile ahead, hiding behind the tree..." Like having CB in which few broadcast but many listen.

Rights: You Have NO Rights +1, Informative (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563872)


This is the United Gulags Of BushCo: ( formerly known as the United States of America before "President" George W. Bush [whitehouse.org] announced he was the duly selected leader of the world.

By now everyone should have heard about George W. Bush and his disruptive initiatives. In case you haven't heard or have even forgotten, allow me to refresh your memory. As a preliminary, I want to build a new understanding that can transport us to tomorrow. You may be wondering why stentorian blowhards latch onto his quips. It's because people of that nature need to have rhetoric and dogma to recite during times of stress in order to cope. That's also why if we contradict Bush, we are labelled jealous rapscallions. If we capitulate, however, we forfeit our freedoms. As a matter of policy, devious hippies should not conceal information and, occasionally, blatantly lie, but this has never stopped Bush. Many people aren't aware of how dangerous his long-term goals are, so let's present a little breakdown. First off, we should solve the problems of irrationalism, antagonism, economic inequality, and lack of equal opportunity. (Goodness knows, our elected officials aren't going to.)

Bush's theories are sheer hypothesis -- speculation with not even a scintilla of circumstantial evidence to support them. We can therefore extrapolate that at this point in the letter, I had planned to tell you that Bush's drones believe that those rights and protections which give us voice in a democratic society are the cause of opportunism and social chaos and must be thwarted or dismantled. However, one of my colleagues pointed out that I am skeptical of efforts to produce an asinine definition of "physiologicoanatomic". Hence, I discarded the discourse I had previously prepared and substituted the following discussion, in which I argue that Bush justifies his humorless nature by denying that his inaniloquent attempts to promote a form of government in which religious freedom, racial equality, and individual liberty are severely at risk are well-nigh unforgivable. And here, I contend, lies a clue to the intellectual vacuum so gapingly apparent in his ultimata. Who is Bush to decide what is morally acceptable for us and what is not? He maintains a "Big Brother" dossier of personal information about everyone he distrusts, to use as a potential weapon. Is your name listed in that dossier? Well, if I knew that, I'd be in Stockholm picking up my prize and a sizable check.

Knowledge is the key that unlocks the shackles of bondage. That's why it's important for you to know that I, hardheaded cynic that I am, am decidedly not up on the latest gossip. Still, I have heard people say that if anything will free us from the shackles of Bush's uneducated roorbacks, it's knowledge of the world as it really is. It's knowledge that the central paradox of his demands, the twist that makes his smears so irresistible to manipulative agitators of one sort or another, is that these people truly believe that going through the motions of working is the same as working. Let me mention again that Bush once tried to lay waste to the environment. If you consider this an exception to the rule then you truly don't understand how Bush operates. I hope, however, that you at least understand that his premise (that bad things "just happen" (i.e., they're not caused by Bush himself)) is his morality disguised as pretended neutrality. He uses this disguised morality to support his magic-bullet explanations, thereby making his argument self-refuting. Nice try to create a kind of psychic pain at the very root of the modern mind, Bush. Currently, he lacks the clout to spread hatred, animosity, and divisiveness. But faster than you can say "mediterraneanization", he will have enough toadies to acquire public acceptance of his besotted flimflams. His announcements express themselves in thousandfold manifestations, with one of Bush's secret police in despair and hopelessness, with another in ill will, anger, and indignation, with these bumptious criticasters in indifference, and with those in furious excesses.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again, but Bush commonly appoints ineffective people to important positions. He then ensures that these people stay in those positions because that makes it easy for Bush to dispense outright misinformation and flashlight-under-the-chin ghost stories. He says that everyone would be a lot safer if he were to monitor all of our personal communications and financial transactions -- even our library records. Why on Earth does he need to monitor our library records? Well, we all know the answer to that question, don't we? But in case you don't, then you should note that he is careless with data, makes all sorts of causal interpretations of things without any real justification, has a way of combining disparate ideas that don't seem to hang together, seems to show a sort of pride in his own biases, gets into all sorts of treasonous speculation, and then makes no effort to test out his speculations -- and that's just the short list!

I'll tell you what we need to do about all the craziness Bush is mongering. We need to take personal action and scuttle Bush's hostile attempts to twist the history, sociology, and anthropology disseminated by our mass media and in our children's textbooks. The great irony is that he accuses me of being domineering whenever I state that by preventing people from seeing that the real problem is the complexity of a changing national and world economy, his legatees can outrage the very sensibilities of those who value freedom and fairness. Alright, I'll admit that I have a sharp tongue and sometimes write with a bit of a poison pen but the fact remains that Bush would have us believe that censorship could benefit us. That, of course, is nonsense, total nonsense. But Bush is surrounded by ignominious, pestilential purveyors of malice and hatred who parrot the same nonsense, which is why he has a glib proficiency with words and very sensitive nostrils. Bush can smell money in your pocket from a block away. Once that delicious aroma reaches his nostrils, he'll start talking about the joy of nonrepresentationalism and how we're supposed to shut up and smile when he says quixotic things. As you listen to Bush's sing-song, chances are you won't even notice his hand as it goes into your pocket. Only later, after you realize you've been robbed, will you truly understand that if Jacobinism were an Olympic sport, he would clinch the gold medal. Bush's morals do not represent progress. They represent insanity masquerading as progress.

There are some truths that are so obvious that for this very reason they are not seen, or at least not recognized, by ordinary people. One noteworthy example is the truism that if this letter did nothing else but serve as a beacon of truth, it would be worthy of reading by all right-thinking people. However, this letter's role is much greater than just to drive off and disperse the antihumanist slobs who preach a propaganda of hate. Everybody is probably familiar with the cliche that one need not look any further than Bush's nefarious, cruel cop-outs to see that the present controversy demands honest dialogue, not crude attempts at demonization. Well, there's a lot of truth in that cliche. As sure as you're born, by refusing to act, by refusing to fight to the end for our ideas and ideals, we are giving Bush the power to strip the world of conversation, friendship, and love. You may find it amusing or even titillating to read about his complaints, but they're not amusing to me. They're deeply troubling.

Someone needs to put the kibosh on Bush's remarks. Who's going to do it? Bush? I think not.

Who is behind the decline of our civilization? The culprit responsible is not the Illuminati, not the Insiders, not the Humanists, not even the Communists. No, the decline of our civilization is attributable primarily to George W. Bush. If you've never seen him promote a culture of dependency and failure, you're either incredibly unobservant or are concealing the truth from yourself. He deeply believes that everyone who doesn't share his beliefs is a smarmy moron deserving of death and damnation. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the truth is very simple: Every time Bush gets caught trying to harm others, or even instill the fear of harm, he promises he'll never do so again. Subsequently, his goombahs always jump in and explain that he really shouldn't be blamed even if he does, because, as they insist, profits come before people. We must also assert with all the sincerity of informed experience and the desperate desire to see our beloved country survive that it is hardly surprising that he wants to shower petulant hellions with undeserved encomia. After all, this is the same censorious Machiavellian whose contemptuous prattle informed us that ostentatious marauders are inherently good, sensitive, creative, and inoffensive.

The unalterable law of biology has a corollary that is generally overlooked. Specifically, Bush's dissertations promote a redistribution of wealth. This is always an appealing proposition for Bush's agents provocateurs because much of the redistributed wealth will undoubtedly end up in the hands of the redistributors as a condign reward for their loyalty to Bush. His convictions are not witty satire, as Bush would have you believe. They're simply the prurient, profligate ramblings of someone who has no idea or appreciation of what he's mocking. On the issue of authoritarianism, he is wrong again. Sure, Bush uses his ignorance as grounds for belligerence. But if we announce that we may need to picket, demonstrate, march, or strike to stop Bush before he can promote a herd mentality over principled, individual thought, then the sea of irreligionism, on which he so heavily relies, will begin to dry up.

I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that the final product of Bush's politics will be a dysfunctional society, wherein every natural self-defense mechanism has been short-circuited in some lazy effort to gain short-term financial benefits. And that's why I'm writing this letter; this is my manifesto, if you will, on how to preserve the peace. There's no way I can do that alone, and there's no way I can do it without first stating that his devotees are merely ciphers. Bush is the one who decides whether or not to promote officious ideologies such as sesquipedalianism. Bush is the one who gives out the orders to mock, ridicule, deprecate, and objurgate people for their religious beliefs. And Bush is the one trying to conceal how the concepts underlying his egocentric, corrupt generalizations are like the Ptolemaic astronomy, which could not have been saved by positing more epicycles or eliminating some of the more glaring discrepancies. The fundamental idea -- that the heavens revolve around the Earth -- was wrong, just as Bush's idea that women are spare parts in the social repertoire -- mere optional extras -- is wrong. Bush's hotheaded game of chess -- the myopic chess of larrikinism -- has continued for far too long. It's time to checkmate this saturnine couch potato and show him that he knows that performing an occasional act of charity will make some people forgive -- or at least overlook -- all of his closed-minded excesses. My take on the matter is that it's astounding that Bush has somehow found a way to work the words "internationalization" and "hexosemonophosphoric" into his prognoses. However, you may find it even more astounding that if you looked up "foolish" in the dictionary, you'd probably see his picture. I know more about antipluralism than most people. You might even say that I'm an expert on the subject. I can therefore state with confidence that Bush dreams of a time when he'll be free to prevent me from getting my work done. That's the way he's planned it, and that's the way it'll happen -- not may happen, but will happen -- if we don't interfere, if we don't knock some sense into him. To conclude, George W. Bush is unable to separate fact from fiction.

Patriotically,
Kilgore Trout, C.E.O.

They'll see ya, alright! You'll be 200ft tall! (1)

jonbritton (950482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563874)

Each owner tells MINI what to show when they drive by, such as 'Jim, you are one sexy beast.' If the pilot program is successful, MINI plans to put up more billboards in more cities and allow every owner to participate.

I hate to say this, but this place is getting to me.
I think I'm getting The Fear.

Re:They'll see ya, alright! You'll be 200ft tall! (1)

4d3fect (1023141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566356)

Is that sig from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? or Withnail & I?

Minorityreport tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17563898)

What trolls tagged this 'minorityreport'? I fail to see the relevance.

Re:Minorityreport tags (4, Informative)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564094)

What trolls tagged this 'minorityreport'? I fail to see the relevance.
In Philip K Dick's dystopian future, you'll be followed by annoying ads that target you specifically. The trigger for the ads in the future is that you'll have some kind of ID implant that gets read by the adbots. The MINI keyfobs are an external version of that ...

Isn't it obvious? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564320)

You know that scene in the movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise just had his eyes replaced and has that bandage over his eyes that his doctor told him not to remove to soon or he'd go permanently blind and then those spider bots come in and he hides in a bathtub full of ice water but they find him and pull the bandage up and shine a bright light directly into his eyes but he strangely isn't injured at all except having to turn his rigamortis grin into a rigamortis grimace for a couple seconds?

This is just like that.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565174)

I figured that he spent the remainder of the movie blind in one eye. Notice that he keeps one eye under the bandage.

Re:Minorityreport tags (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565282)

The film Minority Report features personalised ads which include your name, suggesting products based on past purchases etc.

This is similar, just lower tech.

What range? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563900)

What range are they imagining for RFID? I have always heard that driving past a billboard (unless it was *really* close) wouldn't be close enough for the transmit distances of RFID.

If RFID is readable at distances of 50-100 feet or so, that's opens a bunch of issues people have been saying can't happen.

Anyone with any more detailed knowledge about RFID care to chime in on this?

Re:What range? (3, Informative)

man_ls (248470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563978)

Active (Powered) RFID and a good antenna will net ranges much greater than 100 ft. You never hear about the Active sort terribly often, but it's out there, and is appropriate in a situation like this.

Powered keyfobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564404)

So, how big a battery will I have to carry around on my keychain, on the off-chance that I might drive past one of these billboards? Or will I need to plug my keys into the cigarette lighter while driving?

Re:What range? (3, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563990)

Putting the RFID reader in a mile marker nearer the road (or in the road itself) and then relaying the information to the billboard via another, longer-distance technology, gets around the billboard-range problem.

Re:What range? (1)

Mantooth (991503) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564072)

I saw one the other day... I was too busy getting annoyed at the never ending construction that I didn't pay too much attention to it until afterwards.

I used to have a client that owned a Billboard company (until they sold it a few months ago for a gazillion dollars) and electronic billboards are definitely going to become more prevelant as well as more customizable, utilizing wi-fi, bluetooth, etc. In the next few years, I don't think range will be an issue.

Re:What range? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564128)

Depends on the antenna used, mainly. RFID is usually discussed in terms of the sort of chips you'd conceal in products, embed in passports, or inject under people's skins. These platforms naturally impose limits on the antenna size, hence the reading range. For an overt device whose entire purpose is to carry an RFID device, the antenna can be larger. Also, though changing batteries or recharging your keyfob is inconvenient, you could make it an active device, allowing crazy ranges to work.

But these solutions are changes to these particular RFID tags, not to the reader, so the things "people have been saying can't happen" are still the same, for the other devices they presumably have been discussing. Not that they're necessarily telling the truth; this just doesn't prove they're lying.

BTW: on major highways, how would anyone know who the message was for? probably only the recipient, unless the message identifies them, as in "Jim, you are on beasty sex." So by carrying the fob, and letting someone else set the message, you have an interesting means of open, but non obvious, communication. (Clearly, messages must be worded carefully or encoded/encrypted/etc. to avoid letting things out)

Re:What range? (1)

SomeWhiteGuy (920943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564346)

My guess is that the MINI itself has some kind of signal booster inside. I've seen some basic studies on it myself. I thought the range was quite limited and that was about 1-2 years ago. Might have changed significantly since. All of that depends on if they use active or passive tags. They have to use active to get any kind of range then a strong receiver. Someone correct me if I'm getting my facts wrong.

At least from a bridge to the road. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564508)

Using active tags and a highly directional antenna on the receiver, I suspect that you can probably "see" a tag from quite a distance away. Active tags transmit continuously, so they don't need a high-strength RF field to give them the juice to operate, like the passive tags inside SpeedPasses, etc.

Examples of active RFID already in use are the EZ Pass boxes used in cars in New England and the Northeast. They have toll gates in New Jersey that you drive through at full speed, and the receivers are up at normal Interstate bridge height (so trucks can go through them). And I doubt very much that they represent anything close to the state-of-the-art with respect to RFID. You can probably do some nice tradeoffs, like enhanced signal processing, when you're not receiving a bunch of tags every second.

Re:What range? (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564546)

Without getting technical, if they can make RFID work with at-speed tollbooths, they can make it work with billboards.

(damn you, Illinois Tri-state)

Re:What range? (1)

Ltar (1010889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565910)

Alternately, an RFID receiver for the board itself could be located on the side of the road, within range of passing RFID MINI's, and a few hundred yards in front of the actual sign.

No, they don't. (4, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17563946)

MINI calls the interactive billboards "Motherboards."

Um, the FA actually says:

Look MINI USA to roll-out the Motorboard program to a wider MINI-owning audience later in 2007.

Looks like somebody does need to get out of his parents' basement...

Sample messages (1)

Suffering Bastard (194752) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564060)

Included in the MINI motorboard manual:

"The wrapper may be MINI, but the package is Jumbo."

"Hummers suck."

"I drive a MINI! I'm so fucking happy!!"

And to that tailgating prick behind you:
"Back off, fuckface!"

Of course, in the end, we all know this will primarily be used to advertise YouTube videos and phishing sites.

"www.p4yp4l.com! d4 sh1zn1tz!!11!!!!!11!!!"
-SB

Re:Sample messages (1)

eta526 (833281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564236)

Another option targeted to the tailgater behind you:

"Please don't squish the Mini."

Or to the slow driver in front:

"Hurry up before I drive this thing up your tailpipe!"

My Favorite (2, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564518)

A friend of a friend once hacked one of those generator-powered message signs that the Highway Department leaves running, unlocked everywhere, with this message and the 800 number of the highway department:

YOUR WEB SITE HERE
1 - 800 - USA - MINI

(or whetever their number is)

You get a RFID tag IN THE MAIL? (2, Interesting)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564064)

This means that the billboards will display their messages whenever the MAIL DELIVERY TRUCK drives by. Nice. And I'm betting a number of tags will mysteriously get lost in the mail and end up on eBay. Other issues:

  • If it's a keyfob, then it will also trigger the signs when someone is driving their OTHER non-Mini vehicle. Many families have two cars, and people drive other cars.
  • The article says "When the boards detect that you are about the drive by, they deliver a personal message based on the information you originally gave." In other words, when you're driving 70mph down the road, make sure you look up for your important message from your car manufacturer -- and then miss your turn.
  • Opposite extreme: you're stuck in traffic for 50 minutes underneath the sign.

And there are too many ideas for mischievous messages... "Mini announces recall of your vehicle's braking system" for example.

Re:You get a RFID tag IN THE MAIL? (2, Insightful)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564130)

when you're driving 70mph down the road, make sure you look up for your important message from your car manufacturer -- and then miss your turn.

"Jim! TURN HERE-> "

Re:You get a RFID tag IN THE MAIL? (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564286)

Reminds of the signs I saw on a highway in Pennsylvania... "Jim Thorpe, 2 miles"... "Jim Thorpe, 1 mile"... "Jim Thorpe, exit". Must be nice for Jim to have such an arrangement with the highway department.

(Yes, I know it refers to this [wikipedia.org].)

Re:You get a RFID tag IN THE MAIL? (1)

Shadowplay00 (1042912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564310)

Umm..maybe they won't trigger anything until they're activated at the website? Which means it's about as secure as anything accessible via the web.

Re:You get a RFID tag IN THE MAIL? (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564822)

This means that the billboards will display their messages whenever the MAIL DELIVERY TRUCK drives by. Nice.
Sounds like it's an active tag, so perhaps it has an off switch and/or requires a battery.
And I'm betting a number of tags will mysteriously get lost in the mail and end up on eBay.
Why are you betting that? You think postal theft is commonplace? Why do you think so?
* If it's a keyfob, then it will also trigger the signs when someone is driving their OTHER non-Mini vehicle. Many families have two cars, and people drive other cars.
1) So what? 2) They could leave the transmitter in the glovebox. It's not clear to me, though, if this is THE key fob that you use to remotely unlock the car, or if it's just A key fob that serves no other purpose besides triggering billboards. Since the FAQ asks about getting another key fob for another driver, maybe it's the former.
* The article says "When the boards detect that you are about the drive by, they deliver a personal message based on the information you originally gave." In other words, when you're driving 70mph down the road, make sure you look up for your important message from your car manufacturer -- and then miss your turn.
You generally miss turns because of reading a billboard?
* Opposite extreme: you're stuck in traffic for 50 minutes underneath the sign.
LOL! Love this one. Again, you may be able to turn the thing off. But what if there are TWO people in the traffic jam next to the billboard with fobs? Does the closest one win (lose?)?
And there are too many ideas for mischievous messages... "Mini announces recall of your vehicle's braking system" for example.
But the car owner controls the message. Unless you're talking about someone hacking the database or the billboard. In which case your tin foil is looking a little wrinkled, maybe time for a fresh hat.

Re:You get a RFID tag IN THE MAIL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564934)

Did you really take that post seriously????

Re:You get a RFID tag IN THE MAIL? (2, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565916)

This means that the billboards will display their messages whenever the MAIL DELIVERY TRUCK drives by.

Ok, but it's still advertising by Mini regardless of what vehicle is near it. What difference does it make which vehicle triggers it?

And I'm betting a number of tags will mysteriously get lost in the mail and end up on eBay.

What makes you say that? I've never had anything stolen from my mail, which I actually find kind of remarkable considering how many people have access to it. In either case, the post office has pretty good security... why would you expect this to be stolen more than any other package?

If it's a keyfob, then it will also trigger the signs when someone is driving their OTHER non-Mini vehicle. Many families have two cars, and people drive other cars.

Ok. And?

It's still kind of cool, and it's still eye-catching advertising for Mini (regardless of which specific make and model of car is driving by) so I don't see why this would even be an issue.

The article says "When the boards detect that you are about the drive by, they deliver a personal message based on the information you originally gave." In other words, when you're driving 70mph down the road, make sure you look up for your important message from your car manufacturer -- and then miss your turn.

If you frequently miss turns because of billboards, even animated ones, you're probably not fit to drive in the first place. Again, I don't see why this would be an issue.

Opposite extreme: you're stuck in traffic for 50 minutes underneath the sign.

That would be the exact same as if you didn't have the keyfob, except perhaps mildly less boring. Once more, I don't see how it's an issue.

You're not very good at this whole "let's make up some issues so I sound smarter than the entire ad agency" post thing.

Insult? (1)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564120)

insults, such as 'Jim, nice to see you finally emerge from your mother's basement'

What? Saying he's like a Slashdotter is an insult? No way! That's a compliment you insensitive clod!

Surely (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564196)

Say these things caught on, and you got a discount off your car for using a keyfob. Surely the billboards (during heavy traffic) would only display said adverts for a second or less (due to sheer number of users)? Roadside strobe advertising, just what everyone needs!

And the question is, ???WHY???? (2, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564256)

And the question I have is, Why? Why would I *want* to be a part of this? Are they going to pay me to endure the targeted advertising?

This makes as much sense to me as signing up for a free poke in the eye.

Re:And the question is, ???WHY???? (1)

Astral Jung (450195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564458)

This makes as much sense to me as signing up for a free poke in the eye.
Hold out for the blow to the head.

Fighting back with RFID readers (2, Interesting)

parvenu74 (310712) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564598)

Is there something about RFID -- or "active" RFID -- that allows only a certain set of RFID readers to be able to read the chip? What I want to know is: how do I get an RFID reader? I want mount an RFID reader in front of my house and log all of the cars that come by, when they come by, if they are staying within "view" of the RFID reader for a certain amount of time (like, say, arriving an hour after I leave for work and leaving an hour before I return), etc. Pretty much every car is going to have RFID tagging in the near future, if only by way of the RFID chips being placed in new tired these days [rfidjournal.com], so the only "hard" part will be correlating the RFID to a person's identity, but if the RFID can trigger a video recorder then this challenge is narrowed down. Also, I want RFID stickers I can surreptitiously plan on the neighborhood brat's skateboard and bike so I can confront his parents and/or press charge with evidence in hand.

And above all else: I want an RFID jammer! Why? BECAUSE I'M MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!

No Thanks! (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564298)

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Does anyone remember that insanely irritating scene in Minority report when every ad was calling his name.

Ugh, no thanks. I'll stick to nice quiet billboards that ignore me just as easily as I ignore them.

I can see it now: HEY CHRIS, APPLY HEAD-ON TO YOUR FOREHEAD, HEY CHRIS, APPLY HEAD-ON TO YOUR FOREHEAD, HEY CHRIS, HEAD-ON CAN BE APPLIED DIRECTLY TO YOUR FOREHEAD - HEY CHRIS, IT'S IN STORES NOW - HEAD-ON!

Re:No Thanks! (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564880)

I can see it now: HEY CHRIS, APPLY HEAD-ON TO YOUR FOREHEAD...
Did you RTFS? The car owner decides what the billboard says (though I would guess that particular message would be too long). PS I had to truncate your message because the caps triggered the lameness filter!

Re:No Thanks! (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565664)

"HEAD-ON CAN BE APPLIED DIRECTLY TO YOUR FOREHEAD"

I see those ads too, and I wonder - why? What does it do? Is it breath freshener? Why would I apply that to my forehead?

Yes, I know I could look it up, but isn't that the point of advertising - to tell me what your product does? (as opposed to driving me up a wall with the repetition)

Re:No Thanks! (1)

NsOmNiA91130 (942812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566346)

It's some sort of cream or chapstick thing that's filled with "natural" herbs and gets rid of headaches. Or so I hear.

So let's get this straight (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564332)

A company is going to roll out advertisement for people who already own their product? This might be a good idea with soda-pop, fast food and other consumables, but how does it sell more cars? One might argue that it strengthens brand loyalty within their consumer, but if one buys a mini, I would have to believe that there's already a strong consumer loyalty present to encourage someone to buy an overpriced, lower fuel economy compact car.

I'd settle for a hack that would say "Stop looking to billboard for support in gloating over your car purchase and watch where in hell you're going instead!"

Re:So let's get this straight (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564910)

Well, marketing gurus could tie the owner of MINI in with a lot of other products. By knowing they drive a MINI they may be more likely to buy/own product X. So, MINI could increase their own revenues by selling ad space that is directly linked to their customers.

Re:So let's get this straight (1)

jeffeb3 (1036434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565132)

Word of mouth advertising is the Best promotion of a product, and what is going to cause more conversation than this idea?

Re:So let's get this straight (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565766)

Well, I'd agree that word of mouth advertising is very good for bringing an obscure product into the spotlight, or improving a brand's image based on other people's positive testimonials, but do we really have a significant number of people that would be more inclined to buy a Mini if their "cool friend" has this RFID tag that makes a billboard display some pointless message each time they drive by? Is the Mini still that obscure of a brand?

Draw this as an interesting parallel: I think we can all agree that some beer commercials are quite clever or at least somewhat funny. They lead to people talking about them all the time. They are the fodder of viral emails. These ad garner their due recognition amongst the general public. Does it make the average beer drinker more inclined to buy that brand of beer? Does it really sell more beer in proportion to its success versus, say, one that's informative about the benefits of drinking that brand of beer?

Yeah, perhaps I'm still missing the point of where this billboard idea will massively succeed in its purpose (to get more Minis sold). Personally, if I were in charge of the advertising budget, I'd be looking for other ideas to spend it on...or at least massively refine this one so that it would be a lot more effective at its intended goal.

Re:So let's get this straight (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565902)

Minis overpriced? They're not too cheap, but they're also one of the best-driving compact cars you can buy.

Re:So let's get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17565994)

Side stepping your flame bait, I would like to point out that brand loyalty for the "mini" brand is much the same as brand loyalty for the initial Neons, The new Beattles and other similar cars.

The people that most often get these cars aren't interested in the manufacturers ability to make a sold car. They are interested in a "cute", popularly accepted car.

The main differance between the mini and the rest of these cars is that the mini is built to last.

Mini's are built by BMW, use BMW engines and are serviced by BMW trained staff. They are more expensive. But paying for quality isn't a crime.

You can go buy a mini s for less than 25k, and still have it in 5 years. Or you can go buy a New beatle RS for less than 20k, and replace it in 5 years because it's dead. You pick.

Will You Marry Me? (1)

gigowiz (242100) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564356)

Any bets as to how long before we see a TV "reporter" with "breaking news" about the novel use of this technology in a marriage proposal?

GIGOwiz

Jimmy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564380)

Thanks for paying MSRP!

The biggest problem? (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564398)

The biggest problem is prank messages? I think all the messages will be prank messages - I think that's pretty much the idea.

I assume someone at Mini gets to review the messages and decide which ones are allowed, otherwise there will be obscene messages, threats, etc. This will be like when Nike had the shoes you could order with writing stitched into them and some guy wanted his to say "Sweatshop" and Nike said no.

Who the hell would sign up for this? (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564506)

Who could possibly care about this enough to go through the effort to sign up for something so retarded? If your life is running so short on excitement that your idea of a "thrill" is seeing some hackneyed catchphrase of your choosing displayed over the interstate as you drive by it everyday, you may just need to get out of your parents' basement!

Moreover, imagine the cases of road rage this could inspire. Some douchebag decides to have something offensive/annoying displayed as he/she drives past a billboard EVERY day in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic and some other poor soul who already hates his/her commute has to see the same message if they happen to commute home on the same route at the same time. I can definitely see how someone might snap like Milton [lostandfrowned.com] after the 10,000th viewing of "Real men drive Fords" or "Know Jesus, know peace....".

Sounds like a dopey idea to me.

I feel I should mention (1)

tirefire (724526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564524)

I feel I should mention that MINI coopers are hideous and so are the people who drive them.

Honestly, they're almost as bad as PT Cruisers.

but honey,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564552)

Is this part of that same experiment where the spooks found RFID on their coins?

So you get some cash from an ATM, have a drink, and when you're driving along with your family, you look up and see this:

Thanks for the tip, Jim Smith!
kisses,
    Nipples

One more step towards ... (1)

SuseLover (996311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564570)

Our society is well on it's way to looking exactly like the movie Bladerunner. There are a few megacorps running everything and advertising is everywhere; the sky, smart billboards, ads that target you(personally) as you walk by them, etc.

Scary. The future seems pretty bleak if things continue as they are.

100' appointment calendar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564646)

If the keyfob-triggered message could be updated daily by the owner... sweet.

"Jim in the blue MINI: Dentist at 2:PM"

"Jim in the blue MINI: 10:AM court/Aggr.Assault/VehHom Appeal"

TMI! TMI! (0)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564650)

Each owner tells MINI what to show when they drive by, such as 'Jim, you are one sexy beast.' ... MINI calls the interactive billboards "Motherboards."

Okay, that is just way too freudian for me. Look, son, the only way you're going to get over your oedipus complex [google.vu] is to move out of the basement!

(plus oNe InformaTive) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17564856)

Rules O)are This

KeyFobs still linked to PID (3, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564884)

MINI swears that no personal information in contained in the keyfobs...


Doesn't really matter. All you need to know as a marketeer is the unique ID of the FOB. When the FOB was registered your name, etc. goes into the master DB in the sky and from that point forward any POS or PO-Advertisement that sees your FOB will have access to your personally identifiable consumer portrait.

The "see some stupid phrase on a billboard as you're driving to your lifeless cube" game is just a way to train various peons to be good consumers and hang onto their FOB.

Brilliant marketing (2, Insightful)

Rodness (168429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17564986)

They just got every egomaniac out there to carry around yet another 'MINI' branded keyfob on his keychain and show it off to friends, thus greatly improving their word-of-mouth brand recognition. And they've managed to make (some) people WANT to look at 'MINI' branded billboards.

My Billboard: "Fancycwabs' MINI is a POS." (1)

fancycwabs (1050002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565000)

Throwing a rod at 54,000 miles and having the dealer tell you that you drove it through water or overrevved the engine, and therefore it wasn't a "manufacturing defect." $8,100 later we can drive the car up to keyfob billboards again.

Good idea? (1)

j-min (1011011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565250)

I like the idea of even more external distractions for people as they drive.

To be sure, this is a huge step for marketing and advertising, and was one of the cooler, more realistic ideas pictured in Minority Report, but I'd rather not see it on the road and instead have drivers focus on ... well, driving.

I welcome our targeted advertising overlords. (2, Insightful)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565270)

I think that I *would* carry a keychain if it could made me see mostly ads for things I've already expressed interested in. Give up my pharmaceutical and home mortgage billboards for anime and videogame billboards? Sign me up.

NON-customizable message... (2, Interesting)

sloth jr (88200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565510)

According to the linked article, the message isn't customizable by you at all - you simply have to give Mini USA typical marketing demographic info, sign up for their spam, and then THEY get to choose the message.

Bleah.

2 at a time? (1)

EEJD (901217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17565596)

What happens when two people with mini keyfobs drive by at the same time? Or a husband and wife who both own minis, but are driving in one car? Does it only show the message for the first keyfob it detects? Or does it flash back and forth between the two?

cost? (1)

mattpointblank (936343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17566274)

How much is this costing them? Surely it's fairly pricey to make custom-encoded RFID chips for every Jim who signs up? How is this offset? Nobody is going to pay attention the ad subject, it'll all be focussed on the inevitable "Jim is gay" hacked messages.
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