Talking Shelves, Scanning Customers

        “You’re grocery shopping as usual when one of the shelves starts talking to you. “Would you like to try our new fudge-center Chips Ahoy cookies?” it says. “They’re very popular with women in their late 20s like yourself (Richmond 1).” Well, if that’s not creepy, then I don’t know what is. While reading an article called, “Surveillance on Aisle 3”, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable with the idea of talking shelves, profiling me and then trying to sell me on unhealthy snacks, solely based on how I look.

The article covers the idea of Mondelez International who… “is the company behind the shelves, and it owns a slew of well-known brands including Oreo, Nabisco, Teddy Grahams, Cheese Nips and Trident. So you won’t be pressured to buy more apples and zucchini, just preservative-laden, artificially flavored snacks (Richmond 1).” It touches on how this company doesn’t have the best track record, when it comes to its advertising ways. Yet, more importantly I think this article is important because it’s showing the consumers what it may be like to shop at your local grocery store in 2015. It’s very hard to ignore advertisements or shop anonymously in the world we live in.

The article mentions that as consumers but more so as humans, have the right to know when we are being targeted in marketing schemes. How companies and grocery stores may just need to place a sign in the aisle, explaining to shoppers that they are being watched. Personally, I think this is taking advertisement way too far. It’s intrusive and if these talking shelves are coming soon, I only see problems for the companies involved. What if one of these shelves sees a woman, and mistakes it for a man? Or what if a person is trying to watch what they are eating and these shelves are persistently telling them that Oreos and Cheese Nips are exactly what they need? Also for many, grocery shopping is already a hassle and sometimes people just want to go in their sweatpants and get in and get out. How uncomfortable would you be if you’re just minding your own business grocery shopping, the shelves start scanning your appearance and give you their sales pitch? For me, that’s like taking those annoying people in the middle of the mall that are trying to pull you to their stand, and placing them into your local grocery store. No thank you.

As a student going into Public Relations and Advertising, I hope the company or client I work for would not be okay with this pushy sales method. I think it’s clever but why be so creepy? I would be okay with just a motion sensor that tells you about the product or coupon that it’s promoting but not a Microsoft Kinect Controller that would scan my facial features.


Check it out for yourself:







Richmond, Holly (2013) Surveillance on Aisle 3. Digital Ethics and Policies. Retrieved from



One thought on “Talking Shelves, Scanning Customers

  1. I thought this was very interesting because it brings personal selling to a new level. It is like this company is attempting to save money by not having a salesman sitting in the grocery story aisle but is instead adding a creepy surveillance aspect that would be unappreciated by me. I had no idea that this might be the future of advertising but I hope they can somehow use personalization in a different, less weird way!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s