Tuesday, June 22, 2010

California contemplating license plate ads

In a misguided attempt to chisel away at their crushing deficit, the state of California is looking at placing advertisements on digital license plates.

The device would mimic a standard license plate when the vehicle is in motion but would switch to digital ads or other messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds, whether in traffic or at a red light. The license plate number would remain visible at all times in some section of the screen.

Not only is this a bad idea, because it exploits the public in yet another way, but who chooses what ads are displayed on a particular license plate?  You want to put ads for the Sierra Club, Humane Society of the US, and PETA on my truck?  Fat chance.  I might not scream quite as loud if the ads were for Remington, Shakespeare, or the Big Sky Brewery in Missoula, but I'd still be more than a bit pissed.

Double-plus ungood idea.



  1. Y'know...it's my vehicle. I realize that I have to pay fees to the State of Texas in order to drive it on public roads, but those are represented by stickers on my windshield (registration and inspection). I don't see where the State of California gets off thinking that it has any sort of right to demand that California motorists' private property be hijacked for advertising purposes.

  2. If I carry advertising, the state should pay me. I recall some years back you could get some money from Levi Strauss if you owned a VW beetle and let them put a series of vinyl printings on the bodywork. I mean, I pay property tax, but that doesn't give the PRK the right to put a billboard on my wall advertising some offensive stuff.
    But don't worry, I'm sure that alcohol won't be one of the approved categories of advertisers. Considering there is already a Yosemite vanity plate, the Sierra Club may be a shoe-in.
    And would it use MY electricity from MY battery? That'll be popular.