What future possibilities will exist for manufacturers, advertisers and marketers to find even more creative ways to deliver marketing messages to consumers?

BY CEO & Founder Steve White January 03

If you backtrack through the history of advertising and marketing, you’ll find it’s always been about pushing the message to the consumer. In the old days radio and television were the dominant media and consumers had little choice but to watch and listen.

Then, as increasing numbers commuted to work, marketers took their messages to the roads in the form of billboards. Fast forward, and, as consumers ventured online, banner ads and popups vied for their attention; and as video game popularity increased, advertisers started putting ads inside the games themselves.

But then consumers rebelled.

Along came the DVR which has invaded just about every household, allowing consumers to skip commercials altogether. At first there was massive pushback against this by television stations and advertisers. In fact, the first DVRs didn’t allow you to skip commercials.

As technology continues its forward march, consumers can now stream music or listen to ad-free satellite radio. They have their iPods in the car, or Apple CarPlay playing their music, avoiding radio ads.

In addition, ad blockers prevent websites from serving ads. And, due to new technology, those same ads have largely become invisible for many consumers. The question is, where will consumer’s eyeballs be next, and how can advertisers take advantage of it?

Well, automaker Renault seems to think the future of marketing is with the captive audience in autonomous vehicles. According to an article on Bloomberg.com, Renault just purchased 40 percent of the Challenges magazine group, publisher of a weekly economic magazine and four monthly science and history journals.

It looks like Renault believes future revenue will come from this deal because, as stated by Renault in the article, “users will have more time to spend on other activities while in the car.” And that means there will be more opportunities for marketers to once again push messages to consumers who, in a very real sense, will be a captive audience. When the vehicle is driving, it’s not like the consumer can jump out. And, since they don’t control the vehicle, who’s to say what functionality will be available.

It’s not inconceivable that consumers could watch movies, television, or play video games while traveling. Some vehicles already have this technology, although the driver isn’t participating — or at least shouldn’t be.

What future possibilities will exist for manufacturers, advertisers and marketers to find even more creative ways to deliver marketing messages to consumers?

By current estimates, a society with 100% autonomous vehicles is decades away. While many challenges exist in implementing this transformation, the one thing that’s certain is that people sitting in a vehicle that does everything for them are going to get bored and will search for ways to entertain themselves. This, in turn, provides new opportunities for marketers.

It’s hard to believe that people will be able to turn the car off to avoid marketing — and almost a certainty that autonomous vehicles won’t even belong to the passenger.

Could Renault be onto something here? Will they show the automotive world exactly where the future monetization of the automotive industry lies — in a world of autonomous vehicles?