OnStar increases its family focus with latest service introduction

Well known for emergency auto services, OnStar is highlighting its other offerings.

OnStar (Detroit)
PR agency

Weber Shandwick (Detroit)

Family Link

March 2012-current

Approximately $150,000

Well known for emergency auto services, OnStar is highlighting its other offerings. Weber Shandwick, which has worked with the company for five years, is helping shape its long-term strategy.

To build buzz in early 2012, Weber assisted OnStar with the launch of Family Link.

At last August's Center for Automotive Research conference, OnStar president Linda Marshall announced Family Link, a real-time location service that provides updates texted to PCs or smartphones.

In March 2012, OnStar broke the mold of a traditional press conference by renting a Soho townhouse and hiring actors to provide an immersive and experiential event for journalists to see Family Link in action.

"We have to change the way we're doing things and surprise people to show that we are different," explains Vijay Iyer, VP of communications for OnStar.

Throughout the service's phased rollout, Weber was assisting in event coordination, writing all press releases, and pitching the media, including tech, auto, and consumer-facing outlets, and mommy bloggers. Two weeks before the launch of Family Link, the agency formed a media pitching team dedicated to the event.

For the Family Link event, Twitter impressions totaled nearly 6.5 million. The announcement and launch event gained national exposure with 200-plus media placements, earning more than 400 million impressions in outlets including The New York Times, Wired, Engadget, Popular Mechanics, and The Wall Street Journal.

Since reaching out to the first group of customers on April 18, 100 to 150 people a day are registering, according to Iyer.

Weber continues to work with OnStar. More service launches are planned for 2012.

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