Serving as a nice follow up to Monday's article about pay-by-touch gas station pumps, MediaPost reports that Google has struck a deal to include mapping systems at the pumps as well. According to the article, "Men who hate asking for directions now have a savior in the form of Google Maps, which will soon be available via interactive displays installed in gas pumps at stations across the country. The Internet connections are appearing courtesy of a deal between Google and gas pump manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root, which says the first wave will bring the service to about 3,500 pumps."
According to the article, advertisements will not be utilized immediately. That's really a shame for advertisers, because this a perfect venue for them. My guess is it won't take long before they start popping up.
Putting displays with easy access to directions near gas pumps obviously has some very practical benefits, and as a great service to customers, I think advertisers on such a system would be given a lot more consideration than other pump-top ad networks. Plastering ads in places where they aren't welcome is always a tough sell, but putting in ads for local restaurants, supermarkets and other businesses on these displays will be much more welcome, especially when you can touch a screen to get directions to them. This will be especially true in high tourist areas where people tend to be lost or unfamiliar with their surroundings.
Once they've gotten into the game, why stop at directions or basic advertisements? Why not include actual reviews for restaurants or the capability to print out coupons to local supermarkets, or beam them down to your cell phone. The more interactive these displays are the better, since there's a several-minute long period that people must wait while filling up.
Now, if only they would invent ad-subsidized fuel to bring gas prices down to a more reasonable level :)
Tags: digital signage, interactive kiosks, gas station kiosks