04 December 2019 By My Digital Agency

Facial Recognition: Making Customers ‘Smile’ by Getting Their Face Recognized!

Technology has amazed generations from the beginning of time now. The 1956 sci-fi novella ‘Minority Report’ by Philip K. Dick predicted technology advances that are rampant today; use of personalized advertising, facial recognition, Internet of Things (IoT) outstandingly indicated the future of marketing and branding. With the development of technology over the years, nothing can be left on to people’s imagination. Anything and everything that has been thought of is in the process of becoming a reality in the near future! Combining technology with branding and marketing has been beneficial for the businesses, as it creates a buzz about the brands and the audiences have always been fascinated with the changing trends in technology!

Technology recently hit the headlines yet again when Apple introduced facial recognition in iPhone X to power Face ID, giving users the ability to unlock or authorize payments simply by looking at it. Although facial recognition has already been making the rounds by being used in various other applications like surveillance, security, and other law enforcement, for years now, leading brands too are making use of this technology for marketing, and this has caused quite a stir! Facial recognition has become the shiny new toy of the era.

So what exactly is facial recognition?

Facial recognition is a system wherein a person’s face can be verified or identified through a digital image or a video frame from a video source. In general facial recognition works by comparing selected facial features from given images within a database. It is also described as a Biometric Artificial Intelligence based application that can uniquely identify a person by analyzing patterns based on the person’s facial textures and shape.

Facial Recognition Infographic

Here’s how it works:

  • Face detection process detects and locates human faces in images and videos.
  • The face capturing process transforms analog information (of a face) into a set of digital information (data) based on a person’s facial features.
  • The face match process then verifies if two faces belong to the same person.

Applications of facial recognition

Social Media: Snapchat’s animated lenses revolutionized the way people communicate daily. DeepFace is a deep learning facial recognition system created by a research group at Facebook which identifies human faces in digital images. Social media platforms today have adopted facial recognition technology to diversify their functionalities in order to attract a wider user base amidst stiff competition from different applications. Combining facial recognition with marketing served as a new enchantment!

ID Verification: More and more companies are using face recognition for ID verification. Providing these services to banks, ICOs and other businesses reflect a whole new market wherein face recognition is being tried and tested.

Face ID: Apple introduced Face ID on flagship iPhone X as a biometric authentication successor to the fingerprint-based system of Touch ID. It consists of sensors comprising of two parts: a ‘Romeo’ module that projects more than 30,000 infrared dots onto the user’s face, and ‘Juliet’ that reads the pattern. Using facial recognition protects personal data and ensures that sensitive data is inaccessible by the perpetrator in case the phone is stolen.

Benefits of facial recognition in advertising

Facial recognition is a powerful tool that can be used in advertising; it provides marketers with extensive scope in personalizing market campaigns and also creating an incredible customer experience. Here are some benefits that come with facial recognition when used in advertising:

  • Improved security level: With face identifying patterns instilled, it improves on security levels significantly.
  • Easy integration process: Integration process is easy and flawless
  • High accuracy rate: High accuracy provides a shield against false identification
  • Complete automation: Facial recognition ensures complete automation
  • Avoid time fraud: Time fraud can be avoided, as facial recognition works on real-time identification

Brands that integrated facial recognition in their marketing


KFC has teamed up with Baidu (Search Engine Company often referred to as ‘China’s Google’) to develop facial recognition technology that can be used to predict customer orders. As per KFC’s spokesperson:“The artificial intelligence-enabled system can recommend menu items based on a customer’s estimated age and mood.” A press release from Baidu added that “A male customer in his early 20s” would be offered “a set meal of crispy chicken hamburger, roasted chicken wings, and coke”, while “a female customer in her 50s” would get a recommendation of “porridge and soybean milk for breakfast.”


The world-renowned sports brand Rebook instilled face detection software in its New York store. The device is capable of scanning a person’s face from a distance of 25 feet, it is also capable of tracking a person’s eye moments in-store and also their age and gender with 90% accuracy. These analyses can be invaluable to Rebook, allowing the brand to understand which customers show most engagement and interest with the shoe-wall and which of them have left the display wall quickly. This gives the brand a chance to optimize their display accordingly.


An Atlanta-based agency Redpepper is testing physical-world check-ins in Nashville. Users grant Facedeals with access to their Facebook account; Facedeals then identifies the user’s face. The idea is that stores, bars, and restaurants are instilled with Facedeals cameras that will “recognize” users who have opted or subscribed to the program — it will text then send a customized coupon to the user’s phone based on their social media activity.

Japanese Taxis

Japanese taxis are using facial recognition technology to target ads to riders. Once the rider gets into the cab they come face-to-face with a tablet that scans their face in order to learn their gender, age, and other characteristics. This data is then used to target riders with relevant advertisements, which will correspond with their personality.

The future of targeted advertising

Although users or audiences might be hesitant about using facial recognition thinking it might be intrusive, and other initial concerns, many feel that this is the logical step ahead in the field of marketing and targeted advertising. After all, the internet browsers and social media that the users have been using are listening and creating ads designed for and targeted only towards them! Most of the time, it is subtle enough for anyone to notice, users might also write it off as a coincidence, or just clicked ‘accept’ on too many cookie agreements, that they no longer care.

Jonathan Mendoza, content marketing specialist at Fueled says, “I think this is exactly where marketing is heading if it’s not already there. Millennials and Gen Z-ers are the top two demographics, [and] they want to feel seen and heard, so marketers have begun to target these demographics and their specific interests. I think it was only a matter of time before marketing became this personalized.”

Our take on it:

All in all, just like the changing trends of marketing this is one that has to be embraced, as created quite a buzz! Audiences and users are anticipating more and more uses of this fun technology. Fascinated by the uses, facial recognition can be one of the technologies that may bring innovative changes in the world of marketing and advertising. Want to know how facial recognition can be beneficial for your brand? Contact us at info@mydigitalagency.co.