In-Car Advertising Is Coming, And This Is Why We're Not Happy

The Internet is claiming more and more access into our daily lives, but we say a firm no to technology that would allow advertising to be sent direct to your car's screen
In-Car Advertising Is Coming, And This Is Why We're Not Happy

There’s nothing in the world quite so cynical as advertising. Most of us just accept it as a fact of life, which it is. For some of us there’s always a little growl of annoyance at the back of our minds whenever we’re forced to put up with someone trying to sell us something.

On one hand, a reasonable decision has to be that anyone selling anything needs to make consumers aware of what’s available. You can’t always rely on buyers to actively seek you out. Advertising is fair enough, on that basis.

Signs from the golden era, some might say
Signs from the golden era, some might say

On the other hand there have always been limits to how pervasive this commercial intrusion into our lives can get. Roadside billboards, radio ads, TV ads and printed ads are a passive attempt to engage with people with money to spend. They’re fine. You don’t have to pay attention if you don’t want to, even though lots of people do nonetheless.

No one can argue that you don’t sometimes gain useful information from advertising. It’s good to know, for example, that there’s a car parts shop half an hour’s drive from your house that you didn’t know about, and never would have known about if not for advertising.

In-Car Advertising Is Coming, And This Is Why We're Not Happy

On the other hand, the age of connected devices has brought with it a very different type of advertising. We’re talking about pop-ups, banner ads that are impossible to close down, and pre/mid-roll on videos. These are the commercial realities of the digital age. Advertising helps keep publications like this running, so it would be mighty hypocritical of us to call it all bad. But it’s about to get worse.

This week we learned of a system built by an American company called Telenav. It will allow advertisers to pipe their commercials directly to your car’s media screen when the car is stationary. Adverts you never asked for and never agreed to accept. This, we have a problem with.

Insert unwanted advert here?
Insert unwanted advert here?

Adverts will be delivered either under threat of financial penalties if you don’t ‘choose’ to watch them, or with a bribe-shaped discount on the cost of your connected car services if you do watch them. It depends on which way you want to look at it. A Telenav spokesperson said:

“This approach helps car makers offset costs related to connected services, such as wireless data, content, software and cloud services.

“In return for accepting ads in vehicles, drivers benefit from access to connected services without subscription fees, as well as new driving experiences that come from the highly-targeted and relevant offers delivered based on information coming from the vehicle.”

Adverts via head-up display? It's very possible...
Adverts via head-up display? It's very possible...

With technology already able to check which way your face is turned and which way your eyes are looking, the car could know whether you’re watching these commercials or not. It may even pause them if you look away, or refuse to let you access the net until you’ve watched the whole advert(s).

Forgive me if I’m being over-dramatic, but that sounds like being held to ransom in your own car. Your car is your personal space. It’s a private cocoon that you keep exactly the way you want it. You make it look the way you want, you make it sound the way you want and you make it feel the way you want. Your choice of model alone is a reflection of who you are, even if the car itself is unmodified. It’s yours, and only you should get to decide what goes on inside it.

In-Car Advertising Is Coming, And This Is Why We're Not Happy

Now advertisers want to violate those personal boundaries and stick their hungry mouths in where we don’t want them. They don’t care whether you want to be left alone, or that it’s your private space. They want to turn every private car into a way to force you to watch their sales pitch.

To this we say no, thank you. Advertising on public transport is fair game, but not in people’s private cars. We do not want advertising in our cars. Not now, and not ever.



That’s why you don’t have a radio in your car
Beacuse Race car bro……

01/14/2018 - 08:42 |
66 | 4

Agreed. I wouldn’t mind optional adverts, but on the condition that you can freely turn them off without getting penalties or losing incentives. And there’s no way that’s going to happen. Businesses really need to respect people’s privacy and individuality, and that goes for plenty of other things beyond adverts in cars.

01/14/2018 - 08:43 |
16 | 2

After all, if we pay tens of thousands of pounds for a car instead of public transport, we shouldn’t have to withstand something that ruins your driving.

01/14/2018 - 11:55 |
8 | 0
Ali Mahfooz

It would be like in 2017 where several videos on YouTube associated with violence and racism got randomly selected for advertisements without the disclosure of brand’s policy or awareness what offensive video their brands are being promoted on. I’m calling it, there WILL be a Deja Vu moment for consumers with those cars sometime in the future of this goes through.

01/14/2018 - 08:46 |
2 | 0
Manuel Kunz

The only kind of car related advertisment we accept comes in form of racing liverys, period.

01/14/2018 - 08:49 |
384 | 2

Idea: get companies to ‘sponsor’ your car, so you get a discount on driving whilst also getting a livery on your car. Completely optional, and it’s far more visible to the public than on a 7” screen inside the car

01/14/2018 - 09:25 |
146 | 0

Yeah, I would gladly put on a Gulf livery on my beetle if that counts.

01/14/2018 - 19:13 |
14 | 0


01/23/2018 - 07:12 |
0 | 0
Nishant Dash

So much for safety… Want to access the Navigation, KFC SALE!!!!
Listen to music: NETFLIX YOOO!
personal privacy must be respected imo

01/14/2018 - 08:55 |
72 | 0

Time to start developing adblocks for cars.

01/14/2018 - 09:06 |
106 | 0
Erich Mohrmann

I can’t afford a new car anyway, more reasons to stay to the old but gold

01/14/2018 - 09:17 |
30 | 0

[uBlock intensifies]

01/14/2018 - 09:20 |
24 | 0

This is why this Mazda concept is awesome. I would buy a car with this interior.

01/14/2018 - 09:32 |
108 | 0
Blade noir

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)


01/14/2018 - 09:59 |
24 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes! You don’t need all those gimmicks and stuff. Just a steering wheel, speedometer, RPM gauge and gear lever. Plus some lovely trim where the buttons and screens would have been.

01/14/2018 - 12:01 |
12 | 0

The idea of a connected car was really stupid to me in first place anyway. As if I needed another reason not to buy a car with an infotainment system connected to the internet. I mean, I’m all for new tech, but that’s just an unnecessary gimmick that you won’t miss having by any means. Just like these stupid smart watches.

01/14/2018 - 09:42 |
50 | 2

In reply to by Jakob

I know! People are so amazed at these smart watches for no reason. And in car advertising could be unsafe if it distracts you when you are stationary. What if the lights turn green and McDonalds is currently holding your attention? Imagine revving and then an advert starts lol

01/14/2018 - 11:54 |
10 | 2

In reply to by Jakob

Definitely. It’s stupid. People need to think “do I really need this” before getting the latest “smart” features. Most of them don’t really save much effort and come with a lot of hassle when it doesn’t work/takes ages to set up/gets hacked/leaks data to other companies.

01/14/2018 - 12:02 |
10 | 2


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