Batman Is Aided

Batman fights off villains, including the Riddler, in two new TV spots from Campbell-Ewald Advertising that feature specific upgrades to the General Motor’s OnStar navigational unit.

One spot ends in a cliffhanger, telling viewers they must go to onstar.com to find out if Batman escapes from the Penguin.

The second year of the Batman campaign for OnStar is scheduled to break June 2, with two 30-second spots that differ slightly from last year’s effort, according to Jim Millis, senior vice president and associate creative director at the Warren, Mich., agency.

“This time, the goal was to have more excitement and entertainment while you’re learning about the particular service,” Millis said.

The spots, shot on Warner Bros.’ back lot under the direction of movie director Vincent Ward, involved more Batman characters than the first-year campaign.

In “Riddle me this,” for example, Batman uses OnStar’s visual advisor, a system that delivers access to the Internet without using a keyboard, to catch a villain before he robs a bank. He does so by solving a riddle the Riddler e-mails.

Vicki Vale’s image is used in “Hot Date,” in which Batman phones his lady love from the Batmobile using OnStar’s personal calling system, while fighting off an attack by the Penguin.

The service allows drivers to make and take calls without taking their hands off the wheel. “There is never a good time to take your eyes off the road,” a voiceover says, as Batman dodges explosions that the Penguin drops from a helicopter.

“We wanted to show the importance of the personal-calling service. In heavy traffic, you are not taking your eyes off the road like you would using a cellular phone,” Millis said.

To create the chase scene, a mini remote-control helicopter camera was used to capture close-ups during the action.

The new campaign also includes an online promotion and print effort. [Adweek, May, 21, 2001].