LoJack Locks in Overdrive as Online Agency

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LoJack Corp., a maker of stolen-vehicle recovery devices, hired Overdrive Marketing Communications, Boston, as its agency for online advertising.

No formal review was done, as Sarah Montague, LoJack's director of advertising and marketing communications, was acquainted with Overdrive.

Hill, Holliday, Boston, was the incumbent. It continues as LoJack's agency of record for branding and general advertising, focusing this year on sports marketing programs on radio and trade print.

"I think Overdrive has expertise in negotiating with sites based on performance deals so it's not based on CPM," Montague said.

Overdrive will handle online ads and search engine marketing for LoJack, Westwood, MA. The focus is on pay-for-performance programs aimed to generate sales leads and the use of a dealer locator on the site at www.lojack.com.

"The mandate is driving Web traffic with a purpose of advanced customer inquiry," said Michael Donovan, managing partner at Overdrive.

LoJack is a shot in the arm for Overdrive. The 3-year-old agency does work for the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, The Children's Museum, Symmetricom, Legal Seafoods, Keane and Sonexis.

As part of its charge, Overdrive will use LoJack's Street Smarts online guide to capture new names in its e-mail database.

The media plan is under construction. But LoJack likely will return to sites that have worked in the past including Autobytel, Kelley Blue Book and the auto content areas on Yahoo. The idea is to attract consumers shopping for new and used cars online or investigating auto-theft prevention and recovery.

"With car purchases there's a tremendous amount of research online," Donovan said. "So what we'll do is give them relevant content about the auto-theft problem in the United States and offer potential solutions to this problem."

LoJack sells two products via its dealers, the $695 LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System and the $995 LoJack Early Warning System. The majority of sales come through new purchases at auto dealers, and the rest are direct orders.

In business 18 years, LoJack's stolen-vehicle recovery system is used by law enforcement agencies in 21 states and the District of Columbia. It operates in areas of the country with the highest population density and highest number of new vehicles and cases of auto theft.

LoJack's renewed emphasis on the Web is important keeping in mind that it competes against devices ranging from the generic locks that fasten to car steering wheels to the sophisticated OnStar system from General Motors Corp. for emergency services.

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