BMW to Offer In-Car Advertising


Companies and governments always release negative news on a Friday afternoon. I know it’s early Friday in Germany, but it was just after 6pm here when I first saw this:

In-car advertising coming to BMWs

Australian car owners could soon have to contend with in-car advertisements during their daily commute.

BMW is developing technology which will allow businesses to market their products through the German car maker’s built-in satellite navigation system.

Yet another reason to always have at least one fully mechanical car?

In a carefully-worded press release void of the term “advertising”, BMW claims the “location-based offers and services” will be relevant to specific route and final destination during each journey.

So far the technology has been developed in a BMW 7-Series testing vehicle, and allows drivers to set their preferences by filtering information or turning the program off altogether.

At least that last bit is (somewhat) reassuring.

Cue the spin-doctor:

“The joint research project paves the way for an even greater level of driver comfort and convenience,” BMW said in a statement.

“Results from this project could allow future navigation systems not only to provide information about the quickest route but also to provide recommendations about special coffee deals at filling stations, the best parking deals or even real-time offers at a sports shop along the route – but only if the driver wants.”

Wow. The PR guy’s certainly earned his pay this week. These ads are merely there to help the driver, to make driving more comfortable and convenient.

BMW won’t make a cent from it, I’m sure.

Just the fact that they’ve thought of doing this is annoying. I don’t want to sound paranoid but it’s already disconcerting enough that there are sensors in a lot of modern cars that allow companies to track where you’re going, how quickly you’re getting there and other things you might be doing in your car during the trip.

The lads and ladies behind OnStar even have the technical capability to listen to conversations between occupants in a car (though they’ve been told in a very deep, serious voice not to by the US courts).

How creepy would it be to have your car company second-guessing where you’re going according to your GPS data and offering you items from that place or places nearby?

It’s one thing to get offers for cheap coffee. What about ‘sex toys 50% off’ when you’ve got the kids in the back?

No, BMW. 1,000 times No.

And that goes for any other car company that wants to try this. The ability to turn it off doesn’t hide the fact that the whole scenario is creepy, which means the people thinking it up are creepy, too.

I don’t want a car made by creepy people.

You may also like


  1. Swade, add another 1.000 no!

    But any smartphone user know about this, right?

    I turn all those thing off, even my gps is off. But just by surfing the webb google, and the ones advertising on google know you, your interest and your location.

    Now the car in is on the spying game as well.
    it’s a brawe new world, and a lot of organisations is keping track on us all, for our own sake of coarse….

  2. I’m with you on this one Swade!

    The car was always a means of obtaining freedom. A way for you to take your self off to wander the lanes and byways of your area, country or indeed the entire world if you so chose. To have car manufacturers now wishing and being able to invade that space is just not on.

    Car manufacturers of the world please do not encroach on my freedom or my freedom to chose just who the hell knows where I am going and what I might be doing as I get there or after I arrive there!

    Cuore Sportivo!

    (or should I say Sporting Hjärta! now that I drive a Volvo)

  3. The whole thing seems quite unnecessary, not to mention annoying (and yes, very creepy). With smart phones and internet service, we have access to all the information we’ll ever need. I’ll find the best coffee shop on my own, thank you very much. I’d NEVER buy a car with such a feature.

  4. I realize that one trade-off of all the free services from the internet is companies trying to find ways to make money on my use of it (after all, if you are not paying for a service, you are not the customer…you are the product!). But….I agree with all of you. I am beginning to get really annoyed with this idea of making all cars “connected” to the Net. Everyone has their phones for communication and other things. I do not need, or want to pay for, my car to be connected also.

  5. The world of 1984 is here! OnStar capable of listening to private conversations, Samsung with a camera on their TVs tracking not just what is being watched but who is watching it, who knows who knowing exactly where you, and now your means of transport, are located. I wonder if any one reading 1984 in say the 80’s or even 90 ‘s would have dreamt this would all come true so soon and would have said they would become willing participants in such a society? Also bear in mind this is OUR data and we all giving it away for crumbs when it has immense commercial value.

    This whole Big Data thing is creepy in the extreme. There are agencies gluing this info together from a myriad of sources, be that large business or governments, to get an ever more focused view of who you are, what you do and what you think – all delivered in a ‘this is for your convenience’ cloak.

    one aside – in the future how do banks etc plan to ask security questions such as your mothers maiden name, where were you born … etc? This info will all be easily bought. Don’t get me started how dumb assed it is to splash personal data all over Facebook!!! Here I am holiday … (message to criminal … House is empty. And so on). Facebook using face recognition and making relational links between you and 2nd degree contacts (who could be criminals or weird individuals) The list of reasons not to do this is almost inexorable.

    Anyway back to the BMW technology. Even if you switch off the notifications there is still the possibility tajt the information is still be gathered!