OK, this new digital billboard idea is just plain creepy, but in a different way than that awful Orville Redenbacher spot. If you haven’t read the Times this morning, here’s the deal: Mini Cooper is going to send personalized messages to Mini owners as they drive by billboards in their hometowns, using a chip embedded in the key fob that alerts the billboard that an owner is driving by. (In case you’re wondering, the car owners in question have volunteered for the program, so it makes it less likely they’ll drive their car off the highway—which is, I suppose, a good thing.) While the idea is certainly attention-getting, to me it feels like an invasion of personal space.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor