Thursday, January 08, 2009

One captive audience I don't recommend pursuing

While we've had ads for captive audiences in golf carts and ads for captive audiences in planes (perhaps the most captive audience) for some time, today the lowly automobile joins in the fun. You knew it was only a matter of time before somebody actually tried to
put ads onto the zillions of sat-nav systems shipping pre-installed in
cars these days, right? As USA Today notes:
Toyota announced Wednesday that new Lexus vehicles will start being delivered later this year with a system that includes capability for voice messages sent directly from the automaker to its drivers.

Called Lexus Insider, the service will let Lexus send audio messages to participating owners on whatever subject it chooses, from tips on making the best use of the vehicles' features to suggestions for a scenic drive.

Oh, but don't worry:

Toyota officials promise to be discerning and restrained.

The company, which has just posted its first annual operating loss in history, probably wouldn't do anything to jeopardize their relationship with their customers, who generally hold them in very high regard.  But at what point does recommending a stop along a 'scenic drive' stop short of becoming an advertisement for the restaurant up the road?

A better question might be: what happens when the system gets hacked, and thousands of Lexus drivers are informed that Al's Adult Video Emporuim -- just two miles down the road -- is having a sale on edible underwear?

Tags: ,


Dave Haynes said...

is that the Al's on Oakland Park or NW 40th???

Bill Gerba said...

The system's GPS-based, so it depends on which one you're closer to at the time.