Since the car radio first came onto the scene in the 1920s, auto advertising has been big business. The first paid radio ad hit airways August 28, 1922, paving the way for a veritable deluge of commercials promising us whiter teeth, more starch in our shirts, and, in general, a happier life.

But these days, between satellite radio and consumer electronics like MP3 players and iPods, many of us are able to avoid the roughly 18 minutes of ad time that come with every hour of radio. Ah, but not for long. Old news in Japan, but just starting to make headlines in the U.S., is a futuristic little something called “contextual branding.”

According to an article by Fast Company, contextual branding is “the art of sending the right message, to the right audience, at the right time.” Think Minority Report (but without the incessant retinal scans). Instead, based on info you provide at the dealership, your car will know your schedule and preferences and can then essentially “advertise” local products and services directly to you. Read the whole article.

What do you think? Is this technology cool or creepy?

Related links

Consumer Electronics Show
Vehicle safety meets cool technology
History of the car radio

Smart technology


about Heidi

Heidi brings 11 years’ experience to her role as Esurance’s copywriting manager. Writer, editor, and all around wordsy, she was content when content wasn’t cool. Also, she likes old-school country.