Ads about technology can leave you cold, particularly when they try to explain what the technology does. Often, humanity gets lost in the equation, and you end up feeling disconnected from the message.
So, the degree of difficulty was high as Lowe Campbell Ewald set out to advertise General Motors' OnStar car-monitoring system. It could have been a dull affair, but through quick-cutting visuals and an animated voice, the four online ads are surprisingly engaging.
One ad, "Sandman," shows dad wondering if his far-away car is locked as his kids bury him in sand on a beach. An OnStar remote control on his key chain allays his mild concern. Another ad, "Crash," shows a woman swerving into a ditch and getting an audio call from OnStar just a few seconds later. Speed is the message there, as it is in "Joyride," where OnStar helps track a stolen Chevy Silverado and sends a signal to slow the speed of the truck as police move in.
Director Angus Wall of Elastic leavens the action with cutaways to dogs, a yawning cat, a falcon, even a crab. Visually, he also spells out just how messages get passed back and forth from humans to cars. The images are playful and compliment the voiceover, from actor Rich Sommer, aka Harry Crane on Mad Men.
In telling stories each lasting less than a minute, Wall, who has won Oscars for film editing (on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network) and Emmys for title sequencing (on Game of Thrones and Carnivale), is clearly in his element.
The "Connected by OnStar" campaign, which also includes radio and print ads and social-media outreach, will run through December. It marks the first campaign for OnStar since 2010, when brand spending exceeded $70 million, according to Nielsen.
Director of Insights and Brand, OnStar/Global Connected Consumer: John McFarland
Advertising Manager, OnStar/Global Connected Consumer: Kelly Shon
Agency: Lowe Campbell Ewald
Creative Director: Michael Stelmaszek
ACDs: Jim Millis, Nancy Wellinger, Kevin Omans
Account: Laura Thornton and Jeff Bratton (leads), Amy Raubolt, Bryan Bush, Crystal Czupinski
Planning: Anne Feighan
Production: Mary Ellen Krawczyk
Production Company: Elastic
Director: Angus Wall
Director of Photography: Eric Tremmel
Live Action Producer: Melinda Nugent
Designers: Ekin Aklin
Executive Producer: Jennifer Sofio Hall
VFX Studio: a52
2D Lead VFX Artists: Andy Bate, Andy Barrios
2D Artists: Matt Sousa, Brendan Crockett
Colorist: Paul Yacono
Executive Producer: Jennifer Sofio Hall, Megan Meloth
Producer: Jamie McBriety
Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: David Brodie
Assistant Editor: Niles Howard
Executive Producer: Carol Lynn Weaver
Producer: Esther Gonzales