GM Renavigating OnStar

APL May Lose Account; CEA Doing Fall Campaign
DETROIT–General Motors may soon move creative responsibilities for its OnStar navigation system from Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, according to sources.
GM has already assigned a fall advertising campaign for OnStar–including TV and print–to Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Warren, Mich., which is working with sister shop C-E Communications, sources said. CEA is national agency for GM’s Chevrolet division. There are “serious discussions” under way between GM and CEA about a long-term relationship on OnStar, sources said.
APL representatives said it is the agency for OnStar and is continuing to work on future advertising. CEA executives declined comment, referring all questions to GM. Todd Carstensen, OnStar’s communications manager, would not comment on APL’s status or on future ad plans.
Both APL and CEA are Interpublic Group agencies. GM’s MediaWorks unit handles media buying for the automaker.
OnStar is the mobile communications service, installed in GM vehicles, that combines Global Positioning System satellite technology and a cellular telephone with the 24-hour OnStar Center to provide safety, security and convenience services. GM spent about $10 million through May of this year on OnStar advertising, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Troy, Mich., originally handled OnStar; it was moved to APL about a year ago.
Sources said APL may also be having trouble satisfying GM on its $100 million-plus GMC truck account, which it assumed last year from McCann-Erickson, Troy, Mich., also an IPG agency. While GM executives are satisfied with media planning and strategy, there has been some discontent with the agency’s account service and creative work, sources said.
A GMC representative said APL is its agency and is working on fall advertising, adding that GMC has no plans to review the account.