AMMIRATI USES DIRECT MAIL TO INTRODUCE GM'S ONSTAR;HIGH-TECH SAFETY AND NAVIGATION SYSTEM TOUTED IN BROCHURE SENT TO CADILLAC OWNERS

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The first visible work from Ammirati Puris Lintas for General Motors Corp.'s OnStar division is a brochure that will start showing up in Cadillac owners' mailboxes this month.

The New York agency spent the past year on consumer research, developing a strategy and brand personality for OnStar, a new security and navigation product, said Lou Killeffer, exec VP-managing director.

CHANGING DRIVERS' ATTITUDES

"Beyond safety and security, it will change the way people feel about driving," he said.

"This button will start a revolution," says the headline on the Ammirati creative. The tagline inside the brochure is: "Innovative services in motion."

Early consumer responses were that OnStar sounded like some high-tech system they really didn't need, said Pat Early, marketing and sales team leader at OnStar, acknowledging the system gives safety, security and added services "you wouldn't expect to see."

For a price of $895 plus installation, and a $22.50 monthly service fee, Cadillac owners and their vehicles are linked via cellular and satellite technologies to the OnStar Center in Farmington Hills, Mich.

Among the around-the-clock services the center provides: hotel reservations made for drivers in transit; traffic directions; and a hands-free, voice-activated cellular phone. If an OnStar vehicle is stolen, the car can be tracked by the center via the onboard system.

The system initially will be available only in 1997 Cadillac models (but not in the Catera). But '96 Cadillac owners can have OnStar installed since those models were wired for OnStar hookups.

The division expects to sell the product to about 10% of the projected 180,000 Cadillac buyers in the new model year.

The OnStar brochure will first be mailed to the owners of '96 models in major markets, where dealerships have been receiving installation training. By the end of the month, smaller markets should get the mailings.

MORE WORK FOR AMMIRATI

The agency's OnStar workload is expected to escalate when the product expands to other GM models, probably in two to three years.

Advertising for Cadillac's '97 models from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., will mention OnStar.

Since getting its foot in the door at GM via OnStar, Ammirati has been given "creative consulting" on GM's Pontiac Grand Am and GMC Jimmy models.

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