Advertising Week

General Motors' Maven Sells Car Sharing to Millennials

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Megan Stooke and Nigel Morris.
Megan Stooke and Nigel Morris. Credit: Haydn Davies
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General Motors is targeting millennials with Maven, a new car-sharing service aimed at consumers who don't own a car and value sharing and experiences over possessions.

"Maven is a startup -- in eight months we've launched a new company, a new brand and three new services," said Megan Stooke, Maven's chief marketing officer, at an Advertising Week session with Nigel Morris, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, Americas & EMEA. "We're an on-demand mobility service, setting up in an industry that will see more change in the next five years than in the last 50."

Ms. Stooke, an Australian who joined General Motors 20 years ago as a product manager in her native Australia and was most recently Detroit-based general director, global advertising, said Maven is rolling out city-by-city in the U.S. and has global ambitions. The majority of the startup's staff of 60 come from outside General Motors, from companies like Google, Goldman Sachs and Starbucks.

Seeking a fully-integrated, digitally-led agency to lead creative, media and experiential, Maven hired Dentsu Aegis Network, she said.

To market Maven, "we find local experts and connoisseurs to tell their stories, and we use them as partners in our business," she said. They include a videographer, a fitness instructor, and even a rocket scientist. An urban architectural photographer discovered in Chicago, for instance, will be used to bring new cities to life in Maven's roll-out.

"Maven connects people with places and moments that matter," Ms. Stooke said.

Consumers can pay by the hour or the day, and there is no membership fee. The most popular vehicles are the Volt and Tahoe. Maven is currently in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., and will soon enter Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Ms. Stooke said. In addition to the city-based service, Maven works with upscale apartment buildings in New York, Chicago and Washington to offer Maven as an amenity for residents. A third service, called "One Way" and launched as a pilot in Detroit, offers rides to the airport.

Because Maven is 100% digital and mobile, with a focus on acquisition and growth, "We can tell you to a penny what it costs to get someone to install the app … get their email, and credit card, and get them to use the app," she said.

Maven aspires to be a global brand, leveraging General Motors' scale to quickly establish a footprint, she said.