The future of mobility: opportunities for brands

Creating a valuable in-vehicle consumer experience

Self-driving cars will be a huge potential market space in the future. Brands will have an abundance of new opportunities to communicate with consumers on a one-on-one basis and en masse. However, marketers should carefully consider which interactions will enhance the in-vehicle media experience and thereby build their brands, and which might feel invasive and annoying to passengers.

For instance, in 2018 BMW announced that it would not show ads on its cars’ digital displays as it felt that in-car advertising was not in keeping with BMW’s brand image as a luxury automotive company. If advertising directly to passengers becomes the norm, we may see more in-vehicle operating systems following suit or creating VIP models similar to those offered by China’s video streaming platforms, where consumers hire an ad-free robotaxi or purchase an ad-free car at a premium.

As the in-vehicle experience is developed, the boundaries between media, service, content, commerce and advertising will likely dissolve to create seamless experiences using data and technology. To avoid potential pitfalls, brands should focus on creating truly valuable consumer experiences rather than achieving efficiency metrics.

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG)

As consumers increasingly delegate routine decisions to AI, FMCG brands must take a three-pronged approach. First, find ways to understand and optimise for today’s algorithms to ensure the brand is number one in the category. Second, use data signals and triggers to stay visible. For instance, during the evening commute, show an inspirational recipe that uses one of the brand’s products. And finally, find new ways to encourage consumers to try out in-vehicle purchases. For example, as part of a content co-op with a video game, limited-edition snack bars could be ordered and delivered to a moving vehicle in order to unlock special powers or the next level in the game.


Displays inside premium cars will become a valuable advertising space for luxury brands in a similar way to those in high-fashion magazines, but with far greater targeting and dynamic messaging capabilities. Luxury brands should also look for immersive brand storytelling opportunities to communicate their values and heritage, for example co-branding car interiors, creating VR documentaries, offering virtual personal styling services or livestreaming fashion shows with a white-glove delivery service to the vehicle.


Retailers can target customers with real-time, location-based custom recommendations and offers through vehicles and mobility apps as an extension of CRM communications, while other in-vehicle technologies could enable shoppable video, livestreamed fashion shows and greater use of influencer and social word-of-mouth content in order to trigger interest and virtual try-on before rapid, kerbside fulfilment.


The self-driving, 5G connected car represents the ultimate “showrooming” opportunity for technology brands. We have already seen examples of brands that are not (yet) fighting to own the experience operating system, integrating their products into cars for a seamless user experience, for example Apple CarPlay. Pre-installed technology in private vehicles, robotaxis and public transport represent a major opportunity to drive discovery, trial and conversion.

Travel and hospitality

There are huge opportunities to use inspirational content in this market. For instance, en route to the airport, a passenger could be shown a branded travel documentary about her or his upcoming destination; or influencer-curated travel guides could be made available in robotaxis at popular tourist destinations, together with location-based services such as restaurant and hotel recommendations and reservations.

For more in-depth insight, download MediaCom’s Future of Mobility report

Meha Verghese

Growth and Innovation Lead, MediaCom China

published on

29 June 2020


Technology & data Communications

Related Topics

5G Artificial intelligence Branding Consumer behaviour Future of mobility Transportation

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