You probably have heard stories about businesses that will pay you just to drive around with an advertisement on your car. They're called "free car" programs or "get paid to drive" promotions. These programs do exist, although they aren't as plentiful as they once were. The key is knowing where to look and having what it takes to make you an ideal advertising driver.
How it works
Here's the basic premise of the "paid to drive" concept: A company seeks people -- regular citizens, not professional drivers -- to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big ad plastered on their car. The ads are typically vinyl decals, also known as "auto wraps," that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which often cover a large portion of the car's exterior surface.
The car owner is then compensated, usually a few hundred dollars per month, which is essentially a "rental" payment for letting the company use that space.
What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy? Lots of exposure. The auto wraps tend to be colorful and eye-catching and attract lots of attention. Plus, it's a form of advertising with a captive audience, meaning people who are stuck in traffic and can't avoid seeing the wrapped car alongside them.
The companies usually select drivers who live in desirable locations such as high-traffic, urban areas. A company's ideal driver can vary depending upon the target demographic they want to reach, according to Brandon Clarke of DrivenMedia, a Phoenix-based advertising company that specializes in creating branded vehicle campaigns for clients. For example, a tech or electronics company may seek drivers who live on or near college campuses, so as to gain exposure with the college crowd.
The vehicles in these programs are often equipped with GPS tracking devices, so the companies can make sure the drivers spend sufficient time in the desired areas.
Finally, consumers are seeking ways to make money, while companies are cutting back on spending for television campaigns and looking for more affordable advertising strategies.