First developed in 1995 by General Motors in collaboration with Electronic Data Systems and Hughes Electronics Corporation, OnStar is a “provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services” integrated with all contemporary GM models. Some of its main functions include monitoring the car through GPS in the event of a stolen vehicle, it can deploy medical assistance at the touch of a button, hands-free calling, and, perhaps, most popularly, it has the ability to unlock the cars to your door as you slap your forehead when you see the keys dangling from the ignition. OnStar is a subscription based service, and more than 6 million users pay between $18 and $28 for it. In mid-September OnStar announced new services — like the ability to, OMG, update your Facebook status via voice control — a new brand message, “Responsible Connectivity”; new tagline, “Live On”; new ad campaign; and a new logo. The advertising was done by Warren, MI-based Campbell-Ewald, and I am not sure if they also carried out the identity redesign.
In case the above image isn’t big enough for font identifying, the new logo switches from a Didone (could be Didot, could be Bodoni, could be neither) to the always popular Gotham. There wasn’t anything particularly impressive about the old logo but there was something more pleasant about the way the “On” and the star lived within the circle. In the new one, those same two elements feel extremely tight and uncomfortable, like a 300-pound person in a middle airplane seat. No offense. And the choice of Gotham isn’t good or bad, but the weight choice feels like the latter. It has no sophistication that perhaps a lighter weight would have achieved. The addition of strokes and shines on the “button” don’t help it either, it just makes it busier. Modernizing the logo through a sans serif was probably a good idea, but the execution falls very short.
“The new campaign retains all of the core strengths of safety and security that OnStar is known for, but also adds the idea of ‘powerfully simple connectivity,’” said OnStar Chief Marketing Officer Sam Mancuso. “The creative showcases how we provide our customers connectivity to all the things that matter most to them, like family, friends, social media tools and our OnStar Advisors.”
— Press Release
The advertising campaign is a little more effective and engaging. When you strip away all the coats of paint off the logo and it’s used as a single color application it looks almost cool. Not quite, but almost. Toying with “On” in the language gives the brand a new playful dimension that didn’t exist before. Overall, the redesign benefits more from the new advertising than the logo itself.