HARMAN and Placecast Bring Geofenced Ads and a ‘Second Screen’ to in-Car Radio

Placecast in-car

HARMAN’s Aha radio is a radio app that’s also embedded in smart dashboards in cars. The company has announced that it has done a deal with Placecast to bring geofenced offers and ads to Aha’s in-dash/in-car experience. Quiznos is the first advertiser on board.

What’s interesting here are two things: 1) this will bring new awareness to in-dash advertising (with location in many cases) and 2) the platform formalizes smartphones as a “second screen” for in-car radio advertising.

Ads for deals on Quiznos sandwiches or meals will trigger when cars come within a designated geofence. Drivers will hear an audio ad for Quiznos. At the same time a visual offer appears on the in-dash screen. As described by the company’s press materials, “A thumbs up icon appears on the dashboard screen – if you like the offer, simply touch the thumbs up icon and it’s emailed to you for redemption via mobile phone or online.”

This weekend the NY Times produced an article about “second screen” integration of smartphones into other traditional media such as TV and radio. The Aha-Placecast deal was part of the radio discussion.

While many people might find this sort of advertising intrusive — I pay Pandora an annual fee to get rid of ads — the system appears pretty elegant: Hear the ad, indicate interest and then the offer is automatically emailed (to the smartphone) for later offline redemption.

For attribution and analytics purposes, you’ve got a totally closed loop here. In addition to geographic targeting, interest-based targeting and audience targeting are also possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw retargeting integrated as well.

The “gating factor” for national brands is reach. Without sufficient reach most brands will ignore the platform. However Aha radio is embedded in the “in-vehicle infotainment system in over 40 models of cars.” It’s not clear how many users Aha radio has; but over time, with its increasing content deals, that number could grow into the many millions.

It’s pretty clear that the vast majority of cars will have smart in-dash screens and, in the relatively near future, large numbers of consumers will be using streaming radio apps or other personalized content sources vs. traditional “terrestrial” radio.

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  1. Email Fandom; End Of Trolls says at

    […] Targeting involves geofencing and sandwich shop Quiznos is the first advertiser, reports Sterling. Read it. It’s the use case every mobile marketer dreams of: Make ‘em stop while they’re […]

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