A new billboard advertising campaign being test-marketed in U.S. cities is strikingly similar to the 'personalized advertising' technology dreamed up in the 2002 Tom Cruise science-fiction film, Minority Report. You may remember that in Minority Report, Cruise could barely walk around in a shopping outlet without being accosted by intrusive advertisements that seemed to know exactly who they were talking to and what that person might want to buy. Marketing Week reports that these new ads, from Mini, are being tested on encoded outdoor billboards, programmed to identify drivers as they approach.

As the car pulls within a certain distance, the billboards suddenly display an ad that will appeal to the driver, based on a prior questionnaire. Personalized ads in a store is one thing, but if these ads are really going to be flashing themselves from billboards, won't that be a distraction to motorists? Most people on the road can barely drive now, let alone without some sign flashing 'Hey Tommy, Aren't You In The Market For Prefab Housing?' Mini is currently testing their campaign in New York, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.