Now that SAAB has shed the shackles of General Motors they are getting on with the business of re-building the brand.
Two weeks ago they announced (NYT’s 6/22/10) that they have hired a new head designer who has said that: “We want to return to the Saab DNA.” Just last week they announced (Media Post 6/29/10) that they were ramping up marketing investment, going back on TV and in print with a new campaign.
After years of being part of GM where the SAAB brand was neither appreciated nor nourished it appears to be getting it’s footing back. The SAAB brand has always stood for independence and a willingness to break convention. SAAB has always had a devoted group of loyalists, some of whom played a vocal role in the brand’s most recent resurrection, PGM (Post General Motors). Historically, SAAB has had all the foundation stones of a great automotive brand; a point-of-view, good interesting product, a genuine enthusiast group willing to proselytize, a group of loyal owners and marketing that conveyed its essential character.
As part of the GM stable of brands, SAAB’s essential character became a barrier to increased sales volumes. ”Different” didn’t mean special or unique, it became “quirky” or “weird.” As we all know, very few people buy “quirky” or “weird.” So SAAB product became less distinct, not necessarily bad, just less unique. SAAB’s marketing also became more expected, more traditional. Consumers were subjected to campaign after campaign that hung its hat on the idea that SAAB also makes jets…as if that was ever what the car company was about.
Last week this all changed. SAAB started marketing in earnest again asking us to “Change Perspective.” Here’s the European version of the television commercial (the US version is not yet on YouTube):
This commercial is like a breath of fresh air, SAAB is returning to its roots but in a cool contemporary way. Well produced, interesting to watch, the music is great (“The time is now” by Asha Ali) and it’s on strategy: “When you have a different perspectives on things, you don’t end up with just another car, you end up with a SAAB.” Got it.
The website is equally as engaging as you learn more about SAAB’s perspective on driving, safety, power and fuel. All seamlessly connected and speaking from the same position: SAAB has a different perspective, uniquely Swedish, but relevant to the world. I can’t wait to see the print.
Whenever you do something this fresh and different in the automobile business it will be subjected to the naysayers who scream for something more conventional. Can’t you hear the cries for more sheet metal?
SAAB should ignore them.
Well done SAAB, McCann Erickson Detroit and Lowe Brindfors.