Harman, Placecast test in-car radio ads that know where you are

When your car is connected, your car stereo is too. That means it isn’t just your navigation system getting your GPS coordinates, but also potential radio advertisers trying to sell you concert tickets or toasted sandwiches.

Harman’s Aha Radio and location-based advertising firm Placecast are testing out a new ad format on vehicles embedded with Aha’s internet radio and content streaming system, which includes several newer Ford(s f), Chrysler, Toyota(s tm), Honda(s hmc), Subaru and Porsche vehicle models.

The long of the short of it is that when Placecast’s geofencing technology detects you’re near an advertising partner’s retail store or restaurant, Aha will insert an audio and visual ad into its internet radio stream that will give you the option of receiving an email coupon for goods or services. The companies are testing the new ad format out with sandwich chain Quiznos in U.S. cities. As Placecast and Aha bring on more advertisers though, they will be able to target ads based not just on location, but also drivers’ tastes in music and content as well as the type of car they drive.

Location-based ads and marketing are increasingly becoming a part of the connected car experience. Daily deal startup Roximty has already made its way into Ford’s Sync infotainment systems, serving up special offers for nearby restaurants, gas stations and entertainment venues as your cruise the streets.

What Aha and Placecast are exploring, though, is the replacement of the general radio jingle with location-tailored ads you can immediately act on. Sure, that will sound creepy to some, but radio ads – whether in internet streams or on FM radio — are a fact of life. Even if you don’t appreciate the relevance of a location-tailored ad, we’ll all have to come to terms with the fact that as our cars become smarter, so do the advertising technologies that operate in them.