Walgreens and Cooler Screens display a freaky future for the frozen foods aisle

Walgreens is expanding its partnership with a company called Cooler Screens to bring face-recognizing technology to its freezer aisles.

February 7, 2019

After successfully testing out “smart cooler” screens in Chicago, Walgreens is expanding its partnership with Cooler Screens to bring face-recognizing, eye-tracking screens to frozen food displays.

Marketers have been looking for ways to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar retailers and digital advertisers for years, and now Walgreens is betting that smart-fridge displays could be a chill solution.

Brick-and-mortar meets digital advertising in the freezer

Powered by AI-powered cameras, the “smart” screens, which cover the front panel of cooler doors, display different ads based on age, gender, and even the outside temperature.

For retailers like Walgreens, the screens provide a new source of ad revenue and also a quicker way to know when to restock. For big brands, the screens offer the targeting of internet-style advertising, in-store.

Walgreens launched an initial trial of the system in November in Chicago, and 15 major advertisers including Coca-Cola, Nestle, Anheuser-Busch, and MillerCoors have already signed up to test with Cooler Screens.

What’s Cooler than being cool? Predictive digital merchandising!

Now Walgreens has already launched Cooler Screens in several of its New York locations, and was expecting to have test screens in Seattle and San Francisco as well.

As Cooler Screens and other companies like Via build new marketing systems that use facial recognition to target consumers, some customers are concerned about privacy issues.

But Cooler Screens insists consumers have no reason to fear the freezer: Although its systems use facial recognition, they don’t identify individuals and they only store anonymous data. 

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