Saab Revs Ads to Drive New Models

Swedish auto brand Saab has made a comeback to general media advertising following its spin-off from General Motors earlier this year.
Saab is running ads across television, radio, print and online, marking its TV return as part of a new company. (GM sold the brand to the Netherlands-based Spyker Cars in February.)
Called “Change Perspective,” the campaign introduces a new tagline: “Move your mind.” It plays up the automaker’s Scandinavian roots, “clean design and efficient performance,” while raising awareness of new vehicles, according to Saab. (The automaker is launching four new cars in the next 12 months, including the Saab 9-5, which hits dealerships in mid-July.)
Print ads running in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today show a close-up of a Saab 9-3, heralded by ad copy like, “Performance is in our nature.” The Saab 9-3, the ad continues, is “mated with a manual transmission,” “delivers 210 horsepower” and comes with an “EPA-estimated 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy” fuel efficiency.
Visitors to its Web site are greeted with a short, interactive video of a designer spinning a globe and then pulling out a lightbulb from his sketchbook. Once he turns on the light, the different elements of his desk simultaneously come to life. An ant, for instance, walks across the table carrying a leaf in its mouth. Clicking and dragging the leaf produces a full-fledged sprig. These and other elements on the desk (including a pinecone, paper airplane and open book) highlight the brand’s various features, including “safety,” “heritage” and “power.”
McCann Erickson in Birmingham, Mich., and Sweden’s Lowe Brindfors collaborated on the launch.
“The ‘Move your mind’ campaign concept fits perfectly with [our] audience,” said Saab executive marketing director Parveen Batish, in a statement. He defined Saab’s target audience as customers who want the “quality and performance that come with a premium brand, but they don’t want the pretense associated with some of the established premium brands.”
Under General Motors’ ownership, Saab had $25 million in measured media advertising in 2008. That amount plummeted to $8 million in 2009 and there was virtually no ad spending in the first four months of this year, per Nielsen, which doesn’t track online spending.