Digital License Plate Ads

The state of California is considering digital license plates featuring advertising to reduce the state’s $19 billion deficit.  I have mixed feelings about this approach as a consumer and as a marketer.

As a consumer, we are bombarded with advertising everyday.  From billboards, to emails, online advertising, pizza boxes, direct mail, event sponsors, Facebook and shopping carts at the grocery store.  Do we really need one more way for marketers to target us?

Also, what about the safety issue?  While cities across the country are banning cell phone use while driving, California wants to introduce one more driving distraction.

Finally, if I’m going to have advertising on my car, I want some type of compensation, and the ability to approve or decline certain ads.  I’m sure a soccer mom isn’t going to want a Trojan ad on her license plate.

As a marketer, one more opportunity to target a consumer is always welcome.  In fact, we have more tools in our toolbox than ever before, which makes our job exciting and complicated at the same time. While digital license plate ads wouldn’t enable you to target a specific demographic (unless the advertising was sold by region), it would provide similar benefits as billboard advertising.

Regardless of whether you look at this from a consumer or marketer’s standpoint, one thing is for certain… California has a lot to sort out before this digital license plate ad concept could become a reality.

Jennifer Manocchio


After starting her career with Edelman in Chicago, Jennifer joined Sweeney and quickly established herself as an exceptional industry innovator. In 2004, she opened Sweeney’s first full-service office outside of Cleveland and quickly rose through the ranks to become agency president. Jen leads by example and without fear. She has been critical to agency growth throughout the past decade and continues to lead the agency into the future.