Saab USA ad suggestions

UPDATED: commenter suggestions added….

UPDATED II: More suggestions added, with safety, blondes, turbos and mooses being popular. I really like the idea of tying in the rallying heritage. Turbo pioneering too.

A brief note about the use of owners and their thoughts – next year is Saab’s 60th anniversary and suggestions have been made and well received (to an extent) about making videos of this type of thing. This sprang up when I featured Mark’s 900 turbo Saab story on video a few months ago. The website is no longer functioning.

ADDITION: TAD’s recent buying experience is a very relevant case in point:

We came up with a short list of a Volvo V-50, a VW Passat wagon, and the Saab. When we drove all three, the choice was very easy.

You’re right that Saab has a lot to offer for the U.S. market, but they’re off the radar screen for most buyers. GM really needs to find a way to get the word out. Lose “Born from Jets” and come up with ads that focus on the meaningful aspects of the current Saabs. Show consumers what’s available in the Saab range and emphasize their performance, safety, and economy.


Saab USA need to sell more cars and perhaps Born From Jets ain’t going to cut it long term. So let’s help ’em out with some grassroots suggestions from their actual audience.

Your ad (or product) suggestions in short form are welcome in comments and I’ll transfer them here to the front page as time permits……

My starters:

1. Use parts of that new Saab Performance Team clip
2. Retain jet imagery but have more facts about the car and less selling of the heritage
3. More “Move Your Mind” thought given to the ads. Focus on points of difference.
4. Use of “Hate to Say I Told You So” by The Hives as 9-3 Aero overtakes Bimmer, Audi, Lexus….
5. Yes, use cool Swedish music. Lots of it.
6. Start a clip with Abba, then needle-slip noise/interference, then cool Swedish guitar riff as car takes off
7. Use amazing photography
8. Aero-X cameo appearances
9. MATT suggests a Sienfeldesque “I can never give up style and taste”
10. MATS: The safest car in Sweden…..isn’t a Volvo
11. MICHAEL: emphasise difference between Saab, Audi, Volvo (too homogenous)
12. 9x: Wow ’em with good imagery a-la Aero-X unveiling
13. LOGAN: ‘choose your identity’ – emphasis on points of difference
14. TED: Rally imagery and tie in turbo with sporting heritage (love this idea)
15. ADAM: Aim more at Subaru and Honda rather than BMW and Audi
16. EGGS: Some funny stuff a-la the Veeee Dub in the da house ads
17. EGGS: Some head-to-head comparos with competition
18. PSYDAVE: Like Mats, safety comparo with Volvo, using this ad.
19. SG: customer testimonials, safety, fuel efficiency
20. IVAN: Biopower – environmentally friendly without compromising performance
21. SAABKEN: Swedish blondes (female). Lots of them ……
22. TAD: Emphasize safety and individuality…and the crash test moose
23. JMcK: Echoes thoughts on customer testimonials
24. FRED: FWD history, the beauty of turbos

Not ad related, but J-McK suggests that a greater dealership presence is perhaps more critical at this point than alternative ads. True enough.

I’ll keep this based on ads though. As mentioned, I think there needs to be more meat on the bones here. Born From Jets has emphasised a heritage, but I’m not sure it’s really made people aware of Saab’s capabilities.

Great ideas so far. Keep ’em coming….

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  1. Jerry Seinfeld and his Grease monkey(i don’t like that term)David Putty.
    Jerry says something like i may have given up comedy,but i can never give up my style or taste or something like that.

  2. I think Saab needs more dealers than anything else. Dealer presence makes a huge difference. The more places there are to sell a car, the more visible the cars are. Saab has less than 250 dealers in the US and Puerto Rico. Mercedes has 320, and Volvo has upwards of 350. That means a potential customer will probably pass a Mercedes or Volvo dealer before they pass a Saab dealer. It’s not like GM doesn’t have a lot of product-starved dealers. Get all of these Buick dealers to start selling Saabs. No-brainer.

  3. “The safest car in Sweden, isn’t a Volvo…” The Saab 9-5 has been appointed the safest car in Sweden for several years in a row by the Folksam insurance company. (based on real life accidents)

  4. There is an other problem too. You stop your Saab in front of a gateway and some guy ask you: “Please could you remove the Volvo from the spot.”

    Merc and Bimmer a different but Volvo and Saab are not. It seems to be the same with Audi. You can rank Audi with Saab and Volvo.

  5. i agree with #7 (use amazing photography). no cheap cgi stuff.

    whatever they come up with should leave viewers with a sense of “wow,” like when the aero-x rolled out from the smoke in geneva.

  6. i thought the ‘choose your identity’ (or something like that) slogan was pretty catchy and appealed to the Saab brand identity. maybe a commercial that shows a saab that stands out from everything else on the road in some abstract form.

  7. I like all of the suggestions so far, especially swade’s. However, I think that, in almost any of their ads, there should be some ghosted background videos of vintage Saabs on the rally circuit, sliding through bends, etc., and especially the scene after Erik Carlsson won the RAC and the mud-encrusted Saab with Erik and co-driver rises in the theater/auditorium to a standing ovation. I think that’s the DNA that they should be showing, along with the turbo engines somehow. They need to educate us dumb Americans and improve the image of the turbo in the USA where people think more cylinders and more cubic inches equals better.

  8. How about choosing the right competition? I’m a huge Saab fan but they shouldn’t be going after the BMW/Audi market. Saab should be after the Acura/Subaru market.
    As for marketing, there’s nothing wrong that a WRX Sti/ Evo killer 9-3 rally type car wouldn’t solve.

  9. I’m generally NOT a fan of the US automotive advertising (I’ll NEVER buy a Chevrolet truck after ‘Like a ROCK’ has been burned into my cerebral cortex after approximately 850,000 exposures during the NFL playoffs). It tends to emphasize the image rather than the product.

    My wish would be for a two-fold approach:
    1) Funny, catchy ads along the lines of the VW white-coated engineer, “Gehrmann engineeeering in da haus, ja.”
    2) Serious head-to-head comparisons of Saabs vs. Audi, Acura, Lexus, whomever the competition is. Use turbocharging liberally. Emphasize reliability and longevity.

    And, to sell more cars here in the US, Saab must overcome one persistent negative impression: that Saabs are too expensive to maintain and a pain to get repaired. This reputation was well-earned with the 99/c900 clan — most US mechanics flatly refused to work on them. I know. I’ve owned three. The best way to overcome this objection is to offer a long-ish warranty. The next thing to do is to emphasize that the GM GoodWrench program includes Saabs (if it does). Even if only a subset of GM dealers (Saturn perhaps?) also serviced Saabs, that would be a great step in the right direction.

  10. Step 1) Brand Awareness & Interest – Done

    Step 2) Customer Retention through testimonials on Saab’s Safety, Performance, Fuel Efficiency, etc. through TV Spots, Magazine Ads & Radio Clips using REAL people.

    Saab can use the idea in their website that they took offline

    Redo the website and make it adhere the the Saab Automobile USA website theme, but clearly depict in the TV interviews of real people why they are sticking with Saab and why they bought their Saab and why they are staying with their Saab.

    Time to move onto Step #2.

  11. What about to use the BioPower and BioPower Hybrid as a new approach to keep all the advantages of a high performance and stylish car more enviroment friendly in contrast with the compromises of the really weak and weird shaped Toyota Prius (and fight against the raising petrol prices, too)?
    Could it be important also for US citizens? I’m afraid they don’t care to much… (Since the US refuses to sign the Kioto contract to reduce air pollution).

  12. “Born from Jets” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially when the car and jet companies are now separate entities. Emphasize safety and individuality. I like the “Safest car in Sweden isn’t a Volvo” bit. Find a way to work in the image of the crash test moose. Show Saab heritage with the great looking early models and the rally cars leading into the Aero-X as a vision of the future.

  13. 2) Customer Retention

    Emphasize SAFETY

    – Volkswagon Beat you to the safety ad you needed to do for years, now you can do it too, but do it with the Moose Tests, show a clip from the factory strengthening the key areas, the steel safety cage, and highlight areas that others do not have and show that you are an innovator in these areas of safety.

    Safety Cage, Reinforced Steel, Air Bags, SAHR, etc.!!


    Here is your chance to emphasize the Turbocharger and fuel efficiency in all of your models, and the type of fuel available.

    Indicate that you are a LEADER in the industry and exhibit your both your production cars and concepts to show that you are working very hard!

    Current lineup fuel mileage
    Production – E85 Biopower 9-5
    Concept E100 Biopower Aero-X
    Concept Hybrid 9-3 Convertible

    You can do it!!!, now do it!

  14. STEP 2) Customer Retention

    Another note, please start interviewing people and use the SOC 2006 in Lake George, NY as a place to interview people about their Saabs and experiences to place into TV ads.

    Get REAL people onto the TV and interview them about SAFETY & FUEL EFFICIENCY.

  15. I definitely agree with SG. There are tons of diehard Saab fans, some who still refuse to buy anything else. Get some of those people on ads to praise styling, power, fuel efficiency, and most importantly, safety. That’s better than any slogan a marketing agency can come up with.

  16. I’m sorry to say SG, that SAAB really can’t advertise their fuel efficiency as being superior to competition. See my comment to the post “we are pleased…”

    The AUDI A4 gets superior fuel economy to the SAAB 9-3. The Volvo S60 and BMW 325i get only 4% combined fewer miles-per-gallon despite having 5 and 6 cylinder engines respectively. Further, the 9-3SS Aero gets only 21 combined mpg. That’s nothing to write home about. Compare that to a similar displacement 6-cylinder in the BMW 325i (which actually has higher displacement at 3 liters) which gets 24 mpg combined. There is no other 4-cylinder engine in the 9-3’s class it beats in fuel economy. The big selling point of SAAB for years has been how it eeks the performance of a six-cylinder car with 4-cylinder efficiency through use of a turbocharger. That efficiency gap has narrowed with the SAAB only having a one-mile-per-gallon combined fuel economy advantage over its 5 and 6 cylinder competitors.

    So a “side by side” comparison of SAAB and its competitors at

    SAAB’s superior fuel economy is a widely believed myth in the afficianado community, I’m afraid. For SAAB to advertise fuel economy they’re first going to have to improve it.

    Bring on the SVC and SCC! And the plug-in hybrid! And the clean diesels for the States!

  17. 1985Gripen,

    On Fuel Efficiency, agreed.

    The SVC and SCC being shelved is like GM Squashing the Electric Car
    EV-1 in favor of the Hummer.

    Come on Saab, let’s get moving here!

  18. “The safest car in Sweden…isnt a Volvo” is very good…smooth. If the blondes and crash moose can be worked in even better. Also point out that Saab has only made front drive cars since ’47 (and that rear drive,AWD are a waste…although that RDU thing on the B100 concept is interesting)hence the amazing propensity to stay on that slippery road. And the beauty of turbos.
    BFJ is lame and gets lamer by the week.

  19. Okay, if one can deduce that is the place where good decisions can be decided upon by the best of the best of Saab Enthusiasts, then let the decision move forward.

    (Step 1) – Create Brand AWareness about Saab’s Aero history

    * Check * Good to go now

    (Step 2) – Customer Retention

    Focus on Safety by phrasing in that

    “The Safest car in Sweden is n’t a Volvo” as a tagline, but maintaining born from Jets as the baseline tag because Saab cannot keep switching taglines, it looks unmethodical and unprofessional.

    Videos to begin emphasizing areas such as

    Safety Cage, Special Reinforced Doors & Roof as well as Air Bags & SAHR and other innovations that set Saab as progressive and serious about safety.


    Content: Moose Test to be included in Advertising

    SAHR to be included in Advertising

    What else now? More videos from Factory production in Sweden?

    Let’s develope this and “one of us” will further develope this idea into a pitch and mail it to SAAB up in Detroit by the end of August.

    Let’s go people, let’s move with this fully-agreed upon idea and get it communicated to SAAB.

  20. I have another idea about an ad I’d like to see…
    Imagine a wintery landscape, sun starting to go down, a Saab 9-5 sportcombi whirling up snow as it surefootedly follows the road. Cut to inside scene where a family is happily talking, mom (or dad) driving, youngest child in a rear facing seat and slightly older child in the integrated child seat in the back. Cut to outside again where two Mooses steps into the road, cut to a wheel with the ABS system working, ESP light flashing as the car avoids hitting the animals. -“There are no Mooses in Germany”

    Ok the last phrase could be better but you get the idea….

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