Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cashing Your Ride

Covering your car with advertising vinyl in lieu of gas coupons is the idea behind CashURDrive. Clients can locate their ads through the vehicle tracking system installed on the car. Sounds like a good idea and a win-win one at that.

I am thinking about the traffic congestion in Indian cities and trying to imagine streams of cars decked out in bright brand colors, tag-lines, images and more. It makes for a visually disturbing and chaotic scene. If drivers actually bother to read any of these mobile bill-boards that can only be unsafe for passenger and traffic alike. With so many parties clamoring for attention, it would be interesting to see if anyone gets any attention at all.

There will the initial novelty factor that would doubtless benefit early adopters. By when every car in town has signed up for CashURDrive the value proposition for both sides of the equation, advertiser and car-owner would be significantly diminished. Whereas at first, only a few cars would have been done up and hence catch the eye, as the trend caught on, it would be harder and harder to notice anything.

Of course there will be a slew of copy cat start-ups that will try to cash in on everything else in in sight leading to even greater fragmentation of advertisement space and yet more visual pollution. In the long run this might become a lose-lose situation. It would be nice instead if companies would sponsor whitespace or silence - those would be more likely to catch attention. Greening of public places is already done by some but it would not hurt to have more of the same.

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