Advertisers Will Inundate Your Future Autonomous Car With Ads Because Of Course They Will

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Ah, man, you see that up there? The Volkwsagen autonomous concept caterpillar called Sedric? Imaging hitting the road in this adorable little guy someday. The Future’s going great and you’re relaxing in Sedric while it carts your non-driving ass around town. Life’s peachy. Sure, that is, if you enjoy being held captive for a horror show of ads. That’s the dystopia outlined in a new robot car study from Forrester Research.

The findings are not really surprising; more like the inevitable, logical conclusion. Ads are already everywhere. But the phrasing of this report—summarized by way of MarTech Today—gushes with anticipation at the prospect of pumping ads into our personal vehicles of the future.

If and when autonomous vehicles arrive, it’s difficult to envision anything more frightening than a massive tractor-trailer truck hurtling down the highway with no one at the wheel.

But, from a marketer’s point of view, the good news is that all those self-driving vehicles — including trucks — will essentially become moving living rooms. And that means a new universe of publishing and advertising opportunities.

“Get ready for your car to become yet another ‘screen’ where publishers and advertisers compete for your attention,” says a new report from Forrester, “Autonomous Vehicles Will Reshape the Global Economy.”


I can appreciate the cautious approach here to AVs—automakers themselves think it’ll take several decades before self-driving cars dominate the market—but, shit, does this next line paint a godawful picture:

“Don’t be surprised,” the report warns, “when you start to see big brands sponsoring your rides: ‘This trip is brought to you by the champagne of beers — Miller High Life.’”

Not to bag on High Life—it is objectively the superior option for cheap domestics—but who’s champing at the bit for this? Will ad-free options be offered when cars are purchased ? Is there going to be a choice of what kind of ad you can listen to, similar to what Hulu does today? Can you turn the volume down?

The story goes on to describe a scenario where “brands” could create experiences based on where the car’s headed. That’ll be super nice if, say, you have to a dire visit to the doctor. Just picture it:

Car: Are you suffering from [pick your disease]

You: Yes!!! Aghhh

Car: Have you considered [medication you don’t know or never heard of]? Side effects include: [list that goes on for duration of ride].


Mm ... yeah, the future looks cool.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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Andrew P. Collins

I met with a Faraday Future guy at one point who introduced me to this idea. Said something to the effect of: “Imaging getting in the car and you’re surrounded by screens, it would feel like riding through the internet!”

Can’t wait to ride a grimey accordion bus through the information superhighway.