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why do they paint license plates in car commercials

It s about helping the customer stay focused on the car itself. Many commercials show cars on closed courses, being driven by professional drivers. P But that s not what the advertiser wants you to think about. P They want you identify with the car in the ad, focus on the car itself, and envision yourself in the driver s seat. Since consumers are used to seeing cars with license plates, cars don t look quite right when there s a space where the license plate should be.

P So they need a license plate. However, advertisers don t want that license plate to distract you from looking at the car - particularly if that license plate s colors or designs clash with the car s aesthetics or appearance. Therefore, they use a generic license plate with generic numbers and letters painted over to match (or at least complement) the car, without drawing attention away from the car itself.
The practice is known as Greeking out the license plate content.

The primary reason for greeking out the license plate is to remove the regional features contained on plates.

Advertisers fear that if the car in the ad displayed, let s say, California plates it may discourage a New Yorker from purchasing the car. In other words, there s nothing to be gained by having a regional plate on a national commercial. Secondly, there are legal issues with license plates known as clearences meaning that the actual display of numbers on the plate cannot be the same as an actual license plate owner, as the owner of the actual plate would have a small chance to claim in court that by using his/her license plate, the company was inferring that him/her was the driver in the ad.

This may seem rediculous, but car companies are known to have deep pockets and are prone to such frivilous law suits.

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