A lesson for all marketers!
ONSTAR-GM Radio Campaign
Any one buying radio or any one involved in the creative message of an ad, will relate to this. However for new business owners, I urge you to spend 15 minutes and YouTube “OnStar radio campaigns” if you are not familiar with them.
It has been a while since this campaign first launched but I am starting to hear even more compelling ads from them again. This is an article I found in the Radio Advertising Bureau that is more relevant now than ever.
Hope it helps you think more about what message you are sending to your customers.payday loans online
OnStarTurns to Radio for“Personal”Touch
When OnStar, the in-vehicle safety and security service from General Motors, was first introduced, it
faced a complicated marketing challenge. It needed to establish product identity, brand recognition,
and deliver a call-to-action message that motivated consumers to action. As a totally new category,
OnStar had to define the benefits of its novel service while simultaneously conveying how it could be
helpful and useful to consumers on a “personal” level.
For that “personal” touch, OnStar turned to Radio.
“Radio is the best way to describe what OnStar does,”
stated Andrew Young, Director, Marketing, OnStar.
First, OnStar capitalized on Radio’s contextual nature
by reaching consumers in their cars, where they can
imagine for themselves the real-life advantages to
having the service. Then, OnStar maximized what
Young referred to as “Radio’s freedom from the
constriction of visuals” to create a very personal and
relevant image in the consumer’s mind.
With its Real Stories campaign launched in 2002, OnStar uses actual recorded live calls from
subscribers in need of assistance – which OnStar readily provides – to create powerful images that
engage consumers. “Rather than ‘seeing’ someone else on TV, Radio listeners interject themselves
into the situation,” Young explained. “The invisible nature of listening creates a ‘pseudo interaction.’
They visualize how OnStar can help in their life.”
OnStar had already experienced success with Radio in 1998 and 1999 when it ran its Storytellers
campaign. The Radio commercials for that campaign were reenactments of actual incidences in
which OnStar subscribers utilized the service. But in 2002, technological advances made it possible
to replay the live call with the dramatic interactive dialogue between an OnStar operator and a
From remotely unlocking a vehicle for a frantic Mom who accidentally locked in her infant, to
detecting air bag deployment and dispatching local police to the scene of an accident, to alerting
local medics to the location of a car whose driver is having a heart attack, OnStar has developed
over 300 different creative treatments in the past three years. Five different Radio commercials are
produced every three weeks and rotated with 20% of the weight behind each one. An OnStar
commercial was recognized for its excellent creative in 2004 with a Radio-Mercury Award.
“Key metrics took dramatic increases”
Placing most of its buys on Network Radio, OnStar also matches up the call with the lifestyle profile
of the network. “We try to use the proper sensitivity,” Young explained. “It also helps us break
through the clutter,” he added.
Since launching the Real Stories campaign, OnStar has doubled its subscriber base to over four
million customers and enjoys nationwide recognition of its brand and consumer understanding of its
product. Subscriber retention is extremely healthy and they are experiencing growth in the sales of
OnStar’s hands-free service. According to Young, “The key metrics took dramatic increases.”
OnStar’s campaigns pre-dated the Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab’s (RAEL) study, “Personal Relevance,
Personal Connections,” by WirthlinWorldwide. However, OnStar’s success is a testament to the
results of the study, and the implications for advertisers: Radio is the most personal of mediums. To
view the Wirthlin Study and other RAEL research please visit www.RadioAdLab.org.