MPH – kiss mine!

I’m in a right royal foul one this morning, so it was timely that my attention was drawn to this post on MPH-Online magazine’s “blog”. It’s written by MPH Editor-in-chief, Eddie Alterman.

Okay, so I know Saab-bashing is oft-trod ground, but have you seen the Saab 9-7x commercial where a fighter jet “transforms” into the SUV? Well, park yourself in front of the TV and pre-dial the first nine numbers of the Ad Council, because this has to be the most farcical spot to hit the airwaves since the government passed truth-in-advertising legislation…….

…….Isn’t this “just another” GM midsize SUV variant, differentiated from the Envoy et al by the big-whoop placement of its ignition key on the console? Are these guys on crack?

OK, first things first. I think MPH is a great site. It’s edgy, generally well written and an interesting place to drag your knuckles around occasionally. The subscription ad in the right sidebar will keep you mesmerised for a full five minutes. But cheap shots mean the gloves are off….

A search of MPH reveals that they’ve never done a road-test of the 9-7x. Whilst Eddie may or may not have driven the vehicle, my money is on the notion that he hasn’t. And if he’s done a few laps of a test track during a press day then it’s scant experience to qualify his broadside against the vehicle.

Here’s the 9-7x category, and here’s the road tests category, Eddie. Go read ’em. Upon doing so you’ll read that there were myriad changes made to the standard GM360 SUV base during the design of the 9-7x. If you click here you’ll get a link to watch a video presented by Per Johnsson (sounds Swedish, don’t it), the engineer that headed up the job of transforming the GM360 platform into the Saab 9-7x.

In case you can’t be bothered watching it, then click this link and scroll down to the heading “9-7X CHASSIS ENGINEERED TO MEET SAAB DRIVERS’ EXPECTATIONS”. It lists all the changes made in order to differentiate the 9-7x from it’s stablemates. There’s plenty of them, I can assure you.

Now that you’re done learning about the 9-7x itself, let’s talk brand image. The ad you’ve referred to has a jet transforming into a 9-7x and a cool looking guy driving it out of a hanger, blah blah blah. For those of you that haven’t seen it, it’s available here at Saab USA.

Wow, a jet transforming into a 9-7x. CRY HAVOC AND LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!!!! Saab actually want you to believe that this vehicle has a heritage born from jets.

Or do they? Do Sprite actually want you to believe there’s a 10-inch animated guy walking around with women hanging off his arm 24/7?

Saab is in a rebuilding phase necessitated by cost cutting earlier in the decade. This was a necessary exercise that’s been well documented elsewhere. The ‘born from jets’ campaign is a legitimate link back to Saab’s heritage. It’s a well thought out marketing strategy because a) jets are cool, b) it is a genuine link to the past, c) it’s a truthful representation of the different approach that Saab has taken over the years, d) this approach is represented still in design DNA within the Saab range overall and e) did I mention that jets are cool?

No-one at Saab is trying to pretend that the 9-7x is a anything other than a stopgap entry into a market that Saab didn’t have access to before. What they’re doing with this ad is solidifying an overall campaign that’s building a brand image for the marque.

Eddie, really. Answer me truthfully. What the hell else did you expect them to do?

I’ve taken exception to your entry for several reasons. First up, it was a cheap shot and you acknowledged as much in your own article. Second, this vehicle is reputed to be much better than you represented in your article. “Just another midsize SUV variant”? No. And until you go and do a proper test over an extended period like other publications have done, I don’t believe you’re qualified to categorise the vehicle as such.

Finally, if you’re going to push your blog as a ‘blog’ and take shots at companies etc, then at least have the decency to implement comments so that you can allow for contrary opinions directly against your post rather than through disassociated forums.

My comments section is below and you’re welcome to use it.

Folks, my issue here is with this one post, which I disagree with. MPH Online is an entertaining publication and I have no hesitation in recommending that you check it out.

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10 Comments

  1. Doesn’t Audi have a commercial with an A4 going up a 37.5 degree incline making the claim that any Audi can do this. Yet, in small print it says “studded rally tires used” and that there was a device keeping it from slipping? Talk about farcical commericials. This guy should watch every other car commercial. VW Passat boasting a cooled glove-box. Wow, the Saab 9-5 has had that since its debut in 1997 or 1998. My brother’s 1992 900 has more features than most cars being made today in 2005. Sorry for the rant. Saab may need to hook some people in, but I’m 17 and will most definately be a Saab driver for life.

  2. Right on! Tell it like it is!

    Are you still banned from Saabnet? Would they reconsider as a result of this entry? Not that it matters THAT much, but you deserve credit when credit’s due. Keep it up.

  3. just looking around in the archives, and found this old gem.

    Swade: you have quite a few well written lines in this post.

    “…an interesting place to drag your knuckles around occasionally.”

    and…

    “CRY HAVOC AND LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!!!!”

    and…

    “Do Sprite actually want you to believe there’s a 10-inch animated guy walking around with women hanging off his arm 24/7?”

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Nate. The archives are a great place to spend some time, actually. i should dig a few articles out of there every now and then.

    As an interesting aside, MPH is now gone.

    We’re still here. Just, but still here.

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