The OnStar-like service will run ads via the in-car two-way voice systemEnlarge Photo
Microsoft and Ford took a lot of heat when the software giant simply pointed out the capability of the Sync platform to handle targeted in-car advertising
- without announcing any plans to actually do so. Mercedes-Benz had better prepare for a storm, as it is soon to roll out a test of a system that uses the Tele Aid in-car telematics system to pitch products and services to drivers.
The way the ads are phrased is clever, however. The one participating dealership, Ewing Autohaus in Dallas, Texas, will offer a free car cleaning kit if they bring their car in for maintenance. The test is so far only being conducted at this one dealership, though if it is well-received, it could roll out to other dealers nationwide, reports Automotive News
Mercedes is the first company to openly tap into this potential revenue stream, or as it is being used in this test case, a revenue stream for dealerships. Many dealerships make more money off their parts and service departments than they do off the actual sale of cars, so the idea makes sense: turn their money makers into real money makers.
The question to be evaluated in the test market, however, is whether the in-car ads are too distracting, annoying or simply off-putting for their own good. After all, the Tele Aid system is pitched as an added layer of safety and convenience - leveraging the system to annoy and harass drivers might have the opposite of the intended effect.
As a driver that enjoys the solitude and serenity of a well-made cabin and the peace it provides, here's hoping that this one final respite from the ad-crazy outside world is left untouched - or at least can be controlled with the press of a button or a turn of a knob.