Paramount exec: Face mapping can jump-start online ads

Derek Broes from Paramount Pictures praises start-up's face-mapping technology, but slams ad industry as uncreative with these kinds of innovations.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read

LOS ANGELES--A Paramount Pictures executive added to the chorus of positive reviews for Big Stage's face-mapping technology during the Digital Hollywood conference on Tuesday.

Paramount Pictures' Derek Broes says advertisers have failed at being creative with new technologies Greg Sandoval

Derek Broes, Paramount Pictures executive vice president of worldwide business development, was asked during a panel discussion about what interesting new technologies he's seen.

Broes said he was impressed by Big Stage and the start-up's system for manipulating digital recreations of a person's face. The company snaps three photographs of someone's face and processes the photos on its servers to create a digital model of the face. It can then make the image smile, wink, and change expressions.

Webware's Rafe Needleman calls it an automatic avatar builder. Broes sees it as a potentially revolutionary tool for advertisers.

"The technology was very, very compelling," said Broes, a former Microsoft senior director of global wireless. "Hey, if I can actually star in my own commercials, I'm going to watch them...If you look at a Facebook environment; if my face is in a database there, and I watch a...let's say a Mountain Dew commercial (about) a rock concert and I'm the lead singer. Let's say my friends have their heads in the database and they become members of the band. Then it becomes entertaining and it's no longer a commercial."

He criticized the advertising sector for being too slow to profit from these sorts of technologies.

"This is where the advertising community has completely failed at adjusting and adapting and being creative," Broes said, adding that if they did, "I think we would see a much higher cpm value for video."