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Digital technologies let advertisers hone their message

A ravenous (virtual) raptor threatens passers-by in Tokyo's Shinjuku Station in this ad created by Sumitomo Life Insurance.

TOKYO Love them or hate them, outdoor advertisements are a fact of urban life. Sellers traditionally take a scattershot approach with this medium, hoping to reach the broadest possible audience with a catchy slogan or a striking image.

Now, digital signage is letting advertisers adjust their message, according to who is watching. In Tokyo, testing has started on a system that switches ads on digital signs along the Metropolitan Expressway, depending on whether the approaching car is upscale or everyday. Digital signs on train station platforms can change ads as a train pulls in.

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