BATMAN IS NO LONGER ONSTAR'S PITCHMAN

GM Division Opts for Real People in Ads for Navigation System

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- General Motors Corp.'s OnStar division is retooling its ad campaign for early 2003 to focus on real people instead of comic book heroes.

The new campaign from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., for the in-vehicle telecommunications-navigation system drops DC Comics' Batman, who had appeared in ads since 2000. The superhero's OnStar-equipped Batmobile helped him out of jams with villians.

Actual subscribers
New advertising for OnStar will feature actual subscribers talking about how the system helped them, and will carry the tagline "Always ready. Always there." Prior to the Batman executions, the agency had used actors portraying subscribers.

Ads have already begun to appear on national radio networks.

GM backed OnStar in 2001 with $29 million in measured media, but only $8 million through August 2002, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Spending on the upcoming campaign wasn't revealed.

OnStar has more than 2 million subscribers, a spokeswoman said. The system comes free for a year on more than 25 GM models. The spokeswoman said OnStar's retention rate is more than 50%.

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