If GM’s latest OnStar venture, AtYourService, is a success, you may eventually be using AdWords to advertise in automobiles.
According to an announcement from GM, AtYourService was demonstrated at the at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.1 Piggybacking on the recent addition of 4G LTE connectivity to OnStar capabilities, the new service will have OnStar agents offering special discounts and deals when someone requests assistance or directions. According to GM, there are over 35 million requests for directions each year.
Depending on the information requested, agents will offer to provide corresponding deals. The example that The Verge used was if someone was asking for directions to Dunkin Donuts, who have partnered with GM on this venture, they’d be given a discount code or sent an email with a coupon.
Additionally, in the near future, people will be able to make reservations with Priceline.com, another partner, via OnStar agents. According to those involved, this allows people to get a last second reservation as well as a discount without having to look at a smart phone and take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. Those involved in testing the new service responded very well, with 9 out of 10 saying they’d use Priceline.com via OnStar for reservations again.
Other partners are RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book, who will provide coupons, and Parkopedia will offer parking information throughout the nation. Audiobooks.com is said to be supplying, “e-book content to drivers on the road,” but I’m pretty sure they mean audio books unless they’re trying to kill all of their subscribers.
This is just the beginning
In the press release from GM, the consumer online officer for OnStar, Mark Lloyd, is quoted as saying:
By delivering relevant connections, interactions, offers and services based on our subscribers’ needs, we are laying the foundation for a truly cohesive experience. Our hope is that OnStar AtYourService will help transform the way businesses and consumers interact in connected vehicles.
GM was also very emphatic about the fact that they intend to add more partners and to expand the program. One thing that wasn’t mentioned was that OnStar vehicles are equipped with a display screen. I think they may be trying to avoid giving people the idea that the display is going to turn into ad central, but let’s face it, that’s almost guaranteed to be the case.
If someone uses their GPS to go to Dunkin Donuts or a partner without speaking to an agent, they’re not going to want to pass up the advertising opportunity or money. I suspect they’ll use the old frog in boiling water metaphor to slowly increase the amount of ads and where they show up.
 Technically, they said it was going to happen, but as of this writing, the event has passed. Nobody wants a sentence that includes the phrase, “will have been going to.”
Image Credit: GM