“This is OnStar, what is your emergency?”
“I just saw Britney Spears buying bananas at Ralphs and I have to tell everyone I’ve ever met.”
No. I’m not kidding. Sam Mancuso, general director of marketing for OnStar told Advertising Age this week that the company is beta-testing a feature that will allow drivers to update their Facebooks by voice while on the road. It’s part of a push to make the brand seem hipper and cooler and it includes a new slogan “Safely connecting you in ways you never thought possible.”
Mancuso stands behind the idea saying that people are going to update their Facebooks by texting while driving and that’s dangerous and illegal. With OnStar, they can do it safely while keeping both hands on the wheel. He also claims that if they find this new feature to be distracting and unsafe, they will discontinue it and they’ll be upfront about the mistake.
Once you build social connectivity into a car, the next step, as with mobile phones, is figuring out how to use it for marketing purposes. Mr Mancuso’s response to that:
“There are many things that are technically possible. Whether it becomes an advertising medium depends on what our customers desire and value.”
I can’t imagine customers ever desiring advertising piped into the car like canned elevator music, we have the radio for that. Maybe OnStar will start including ads with every emergency response. “The ambulance is on the way, Mr. Jones, and remember, for the aches and pains you’ll be suffering tomorrow, Tylenol is the number one pain reliever.”
As for advertising OnStar itself, Mancuso says the outlay on their new campaign will be “significant.” In addition to radio and TV advertising, they’ll be hitting Times Square and going the social media route.
OnStar now with Facebook! Brilliant move that will impact driver safety or a desperate attempt to capitalize on a trend? What do you think?