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In connected cars, advertising will come along for the ride

Lynn Walford | May 20, 2014
Tech-savvy cars may be able to provide you with all sorts of driving data. But it also gives advertisers another avenue to reach you. That may not be an entirely bad thing -- provided that marketing is personalised and contextual.

"A driver who is stressed, drives around for a long time, finally finds a parking space at 6:00 pm, after he gets out of the car, he is rewarded with $15 towards dinner at a nearby restaurant from OpenTable on his smartphone," said Wong, offering an example of how the Mojio-Kiip partnership would work. Another possible reward may be a free coffee for leaving for work early.

It won't be long until we see how the reward program works in practice: Mojio is set to arrive later this spring.

Getting personal
To marketers, your car may look like a giant browser, providing information about your activity combined with location data, according to Roger C. Lanctot, associate director in the global automotive practice at data analysis firm Strategy Analytics. But Lanctot thinks it's key that drivers should be able to personalize choices, opting in or out of out of offers.

"Consumers have to be able to say please knock it off, so that they don't get annoyed," Lanctot said. "Give it a thumbs up or thumbs down."

Aha Radio does precisely that with its audio location-based offers to in-dash systems. An ad comes on the radio promising a free drink and chips at a nearby Quiznos Subs; all the driver has to do is tap a "thumbs up" button on the in-dash screen to receive the coupon via email. Aha comes pre-loaded in nearly 50 types of cars, including models from Acura, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Porsche, Scion and Subaru; it's also available in aftermarket head units from Pioneer, Kenwood, and Alpine.

Personalization is going to be critical, Lanctot contends, especially when it comes to who's driving the car. "I don't want to get offers for nail salons and day spas that are meant for my wife," he added.

Even the availability of connectivity provides opportunities for carmakers to reach out to drivers. A growing number of cars are offering 4G LTE connectivity as a feature--General Motors, for example, is adding 4G to more than 30 of its models during the 2015 model year. Lanctot sees an opportunity for dealers to lure drivers back to the dealership by offering a free month of 4G LTE service; other companies--Lanctot cites McDonald's, Exxon, and Starbucks--could even offer to pay for your 4G as part of an in-car marketing campaign.


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