Ads are growing more and more sophisticated. If nothing tells us this, it’s the news that Ford filed a patent that would show its car users ads in their infotainment systems relating to billboards that they just drove past. Could this in-car ad be a real-life form of an auto redirect ad?
Billboard advertising is famously hard to measure, and many drivers tune out the content as they focus on the road. A secondary reminder of the ad to their car’s console could help jolt the subconscious of these drivers – or help them notice the ad in the first place. Tying the ad to the car could, if the billboard is for a restaurant nearby, suggest the driver reroutes their vehicle to visit the restaurant to fulfill the call to action.
This could be a physical version of an auto redirect ad. Auto redirect ads take over spots where real ads should be and can even take over the entire screen on desktop or mobile devices. They are difficult to remove and usually trick users into clicking onto them and being redirected elsewhere. Similarly, many apps, try to reroute the user towards them while on a smartphone. Reddit, for instance, constantly tries to stop mobile users from reading browser content so users are convinced to download their app.
Auto redirect ads have worked to derail the trust in genuine ads, which is why they have such a problem. If this trust seeps into the automotive industry, people may begin to distrust ads they see on their infotainment systems. Plus, with content for restaurants popping up on their consoles, some may try to also get social media information, texts, and other distracting elements on their consoles, which could harm road safety efforts.
While Ford’s version would be less malicious – and be less likely to steal users’ data – it could have its drawbacks. The ads on the infotainment screen can be distracting. They can annoy users, especially if they pop up unannounced. Many suggest that Ford’s focus on this technology means that in-car ads will be inevitable in the future and people should prepare for them.
If this technology does act as an auto redirect ad, then it might not be long before bad actors try to take over the software. Car mechanisms can be overridden, and data taken from them, especially their Satnav components. If in-car ads become the thing of the future, then bad ads may begin to take over. The technology could work like a Snapchat filter, which is accessible in a certain area set by the filter creator. This means that insalubrious content could be shown to car users.
The patent is just the first step for in-car ads, and they may never actually amount to anything. Technology is famously volatile, and the location-based ads might not work everywhere, might be incorrect, or might be met with such scorn that Ford sees its profits impacted. But it does tell us that the auto redirect ads are an inspiration for something at least.