It’s that time of year again, the time when we get yet another Batman film! Well, Justice League won’t be just a Batman film, but feature a wide number of superheroes. However, Batman will be a huge selling point of the film, without a doubt. In fact, Batman can pretty much sell any product. Want some proof? Well, this fictional superhero once managed to sell everyone on OnStar!
What’s OnStar? It’s a special hands-free calling service, that also offers turn-by-turn navigation. OnStar is a service that is still used today, though it’s more of a novelty now than it was back then. So, what made OnStar into a big name? It comes down to their first major advertising campaign, I’m talking about the Batman commercials!
The Batman commercials for OnStar were fairly unique, utilizing a lot of elements from the Batman movies. They forcused on Batman fighting crime, while at the same time making good use of the features that come with OnStar. The idea of Batman being able to make use of something as basic as OnStar was an interesting idea. Just having Batman in these commercials is selling point on its own.
What sets these commercials apart from other Batman commercials at the time was the amount of sets and costumes used from the films. Despite using an entirely new cast, (with the exception of Alfred who is still played by Michael Gough) these commercials managed to cast a ton of really good substitutes. The commercials take elements from both the 60s show and Tim Burton films. The guy they got playing Joker in these commercials reminds me a whole lot of the late great Caeser Romero.
Batman using OnStar was a silly concept, especially due to the fact that Batman would never need such a device. Still, the commercials were entertaining enough to sell millions of OnStar devices. What was a relatively unknown product at the time, quickly became a household name. There was even a contest held, as a sort of cross-promotion with OnStar.
The winner of said contest would be featured in the next Batman film. I even had a 10 cent Batman comic that I got at an event advertising said contest. So, who won? I have no clue. I don’t even know if that person got the promised cameo in Batman Begins, which was the Batman film that the contest was supposedly advertising for.
While the commercials were pretty badass back in the day, I wish more had been done with all the costumes and props they had borrowed from the films. It feels like a bit of a waste that they were only used for a few movies and a couple commercials, since some of them were really well put-together.
So yeah, those are my thoughts on this series of decade old commercials. They are fun little time-wasters with extremely over-inflated budgets. They sold what they intended to and were entertaining, but not much beyond. I’m still hoping that these props and costumes are still around somewhere, waiting to be utilized in some new Batman project. Even if that isn’t the case, at least we got some old awesome commercials out of it.