ONE of the few remaining sanctuaries free of advertising is about to be lost forever. General Motors has announced it will tweak millions of its in-car entertainment systems to start pushing advertising in vehicles sold in the US.
Dubbed Marketplace, the US car making giant said the technology would allow owners to “order food, find the closest gas station to save on fuel, and make dinner reservations on the go”.
“This means Marketplace gives drivers of eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles the opportunity to more safely interact with a growing number of their favourite brands in retail, fuel, hospitality, food, hotel and transportation through the in-vehicle touchscreen,” it said.
It has invited retailers to jump on-board the virtual venture, even suggesting it can push ads in front of people to gain their attention.
GM has labelled people in cars as a ready and willing captive audience for marketers. “For most retailers and consumer brands the daily commute is the only time not accessible in a consumers’ day,” the car maker said. “Marketplace gives merchants the ability to more safely engage with drivers and passengers in a meaningful way that provides true value for our customers.”
The ads are available via GM’s OnStar service – ominously, Holden has announced it plans to roll out a localised version of that service here in Australia from 2019; it has been asked for comment.
At launch, GM says almost four million Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac drivers will be able to order and pay for a Starbucks coffee and a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts via their in-car multimedia screen, “fluffy buttermilk pancakes”, book hotel rooms, order fast food, reserve parking and more. One day GM promises owners will even be able to pay for fuel via the service.
The car maker has also talked up the safety of the system, saying it has been designed to minimise distraction.
“Marketplace is designed to be used while driving. It leverages machine learning from real-time interaction data, such as location, time of day and a driver’s established digital relationship with third-party merchants, to offer highly personalized experiences,” it said.
“Adhering to industry distracted driving guidelines, as well as GM’s strict in-house safety guiding principles, GM designs its in-vehicle systems to minimize manual interactions, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.”
In the GM-sourced car of the future, we won’t need to have hands on our hard-earned, either.