Uber cars are starting to look a lot more like taxis

A deal with Adomni will let Uber drivers put ads on top of their vehicles in three cities.

Though individual rideshare drivers have used their vehicles as moving billboards with services like Firefly, Uber is officially getting in on the action. Adweek reports the company inked a deal with ad-tech firm Adomni to incorporate ad displays atop 1,000 vehicles across three cities. Commercial ads will go live on April 1 (really) in Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix.

The rollout — Uber is paying drivers $300 to install a vehicle topper and will sweeten the deal throughout this pilot period. Until April 1, drivers displaying ads for more than 20 hours per week will receive an extra $100 for that week. During this period, only government-funded or Ad Council ads are being displayed.

Post-launch, prominent companies are expected to run eight-second video or still image ads based on geolocation and the time of day. Jonathan Gudai, Adomni’s CEO, told Adweek “Let’s say there’s a Hispanic part of the city. You could have a McDonald’s ad in Spanish.” This model follows the growing trend of geolocation-based targeted ads used on existing digital billboards. Both companies hope to expand the program to other cities in the future.

A taxi by any other name — While Uber tries to achieve profitability, it’s been pushed into altering its payment structure and had to cut some of its workforce due to COVID-19 concerns. The company is still nowhere close to getting rid of its drivers altogether in favor of autonomous vehicles, so for now, if it ain’t broke, monetize it. The topper billboards allow for a new revenue stream pulled from the very industry it disrupted: taxis. Lyft beat Uber to the punch by acquiring Halo Cars, a vehicle ad display topper company, last week.

Maybe we can expect some fluorescent paint job incentives from both rideshare companies down the line.