Posts Tagged ‘Saturn’

Everything “Old” Is “New” Again by Curvin O’Rielly

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Curvin O’Rielly has been kind enough to allow us to publish this article on McNaughton Automotive Perspectives.  For those of you who don’t know Curvin, he is one of the most respected copywriters in the advertising business.  Among his automotive  accomplishments was the creation of the Saturn brand with his colleagues at Hal Riney and Partners.  As you will see, Curvin’s perspective on automobile advertising is both timely and timeless.

Everything “Old” Is “New” Again

By Curvin O’Rielly

In 1982, when I was a young creative director at BBDO in New York, I was asked to write an article about the automobile business for Magazine Age.

The article was well received. I even won an American Business Press award for it. The question is, has it stood the test of time?

Well, some of the details I included in the article are as dated as the wide ties we used to wear (the ones you’re saving, hoping they come back into style again), or the disco music we used to listen to (admit it; you boogeyed to disco), or the haul-ass iron we used to drive, the cars with more horsepower than their suspension systems and brakes could reasonably handle (unless they were well-engineered vehicles from Europe).

What’s still true about my article, unfortunately, is that the automobile industry is once again in deep trouble. This time, it’s poised at the abyss, owing in part to the economic tremors that came close to causing a complete meltdown. At the abyss, too, because it was smart (or so it prided itself) but then not smart enough. I mean, surely those at the wheel had to have seen all the danger signs on the road they were heading down, just as they had to have known they were racing toward a disaster of epic proportions.

That said, here are the observations I made 28 years ago, with some minor rewrites here and there.

••• (more…)

Another brand bites the dust.

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

brand

News that Penske has backed out of the deal to purchase Saturn will ripple through the industry in a myriad of ways.  Detroit’s economy will be effected, thousands will lose their jobs, dealers and their employees are left scrambling.  These are the serious consequences of the deal blowing up.

Less serious, but no less real, is the fact that another automotive brand will disappear.  There was time when Saturn stood for something: “A different kind of car company.”  The promise of no haggle pricing and a dealer experience that was customer focussed and positive.  These attributes were foundation stones of a remarkable branding campaign:

These ideas and brilliant marketing created the essential ingredient of an automotive brand…brand advocates…..lots of them:

(more…)

I wish I had a Saturn dealership

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

brand

This week it was announced that Roger Penske had cut a deal to buy the Saturn brand from General Motors.  What a terrific development for Saturn and the Saturn brand.

A few weeks ago I was with a GM marketing guy and he made the observation that “you can tell that finance guys made all the decisions about the future of GM, because marketing folks would have kept Saturn and Hummer.”

The point he was making is that a marketing person would have recognized the inherent value in the Saturn and Hummer brands.  It looks like Hummer is going to get a second chance with a new Chinese owner and it remains to be seen if Hummer can successfully navigate changing consumer sensibilities to build a solid and profitable business in the US.

Saturn on the other hand grabbed the brass ring.

(more…)