Posted January 7, 2011 6:42 pm by with 1 comment

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Have a long commute to work? Why not make the time count by having your email read to you as you drive? All you need is a BMW with ConnectedDrive.  Running late for that movie? Toyota’s EnTune service will allow you to buy your tickets from the car. If these in-car distractions cause you to have an accident, no problem, OnStar has partnered with Verizon on a gizmo that will record the accident and you can even use the system to send a Twitter update.

Opps. Fender bender. Going to be late for dinner! #mycarmademedoit

Connected cars are all the rage at this year’s CES and that makes me wonder if this isn’t the next big thing in marketing.

All of the major car manufacturers are working on some kind of connectivity through either a cell phone to car sync or a mobile wireless network. On the practical side, they provide driving directions, locate the nearest food or gas station and they notify you when you need gas, a charge or an oil change.

Then there’s the entertainment side. Pandora is working to make standard radio stations obsolete. Twitter and Facebook are also popular options and even the ability to stream movies (if you’re in the backseat!).

Now let’s add marketing to the equation. Since the car is GPS equipped, it has the ability to offer a coupon for $5.00 off lunch at a popular restaurant. Just take the next exit, say “yes”, and the coupon auto syncs with your phone when you stop.

Having trouble staying awake? Perhaps that tell-tale drifting triggers a system that leads you to the nearest Starbucks for a caffeine boost or a motel for a rest.

When you look at where we are with mobile couponing and check-ins, this isn’t a far leap.

The downside to this is, of course, the distraction factor. The graphic at the top of this post – Ebay on board – that’s a real screen grab from BMW. They say the system is set to only allow web surfing from the backseat or when the car is standing still. Even so, if I’m that worried about my auction that I need to pull over and go online, then I’m probably not paying a lot of attention to the road.

The saving grace here are the new smart cars that auto detect a near collision and force the car to slow or stop. But if you really can’t cut the cord between yourself and the internet, just invest in the 2-Person EN-V. This car will do the driving for you while you sit back and catch up with your friends on Facebook.

What do you think about connected cars and in-car mobile marketing?

  • WOW. That is freaking awesome. Of course, the more options you have on your car, the more points of failure there are. More cool features means there’s more that could go wrong!

    As for in-car mobile marketing, I think it’s cool for marketers, but it’s a bunch of wrecks waiting to happen. It’s bad enough that people text and drive. Adding commercials into the driving mix is cool, but unsafe.