Saab advertising opportunity?

Saab SportHatchI’m not normally one to tell people how to spend their millions (unless Cadillac’s involved) but someone who keeps an eye on such things clued me in on a possible opportunity for Saab, and I reckon it’s got some legs – if you’ll pardon the pun.

The German-based beverage company, Gerolsteiner, have announced that they’re pulling out of sponsoring their professional cycling team at the end of 2008, possibly even sooner. The sport itself and the Gerolsteiner team have suffered a poorer image in recent times through doping scandals.

Whilst this isn’t so good in the short term, it may provide an opportunity for a new sponsor to get into pro-cycling a lower price. A professional cycling team normally costs in the area of Eu9 million a year. At that price, given the widespread popularity of cycling in Europe and the possibility of a little success, this could be money well spent.

Team Saab BioPower, anyone?

This could be a great opportunity for some high level exposure in Europe and there’s definitely some synergies there to be explored. For example, France is looking to expand further into E85 distribution and plans for 500 pumps to come online by the end of this year. How about Team Saab BioPower riding in the Tour De France with a fleet of Saab 9-3 BioPower SportCombis following in support.

Other European markets for BioPower are opening up as well, but if Saab didn’t want to make it a BioPower thing then it’s Team Saab with the opportunity to promote both BioPower and the new TTiD.

Saab already has the established relationship with Salomon. This would be a natural extension of that relationship. Saab carries a platform of environmental responsibility and what more environmentally friendly method of transport is there than cycling?

If it’s available at a lower entry price and offers the sort of European exposure I think it would, it’d have to be something worth looking into, wouldn’t it?

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  1. I’m not sure we could deal with that here in the States, especially duirng Tour deFrance weeks. A few years back every other commercial on OLN, the cable channel that does the live TDF coverage in the US, was a Subaru commercial with Lance. Over the past few years, Saab has been the biggest sponsor and all we got for two solid weeks every year was the same two or three 9-3, 9-5 and 9-7 “Born from Jets” commercials. Different car, same scene… Jets and Saabs going down a dust covered flat plain. I know that any exposure is good coverage, but boy they sure are bad commericals. Hopefully, we could just see all the Saab Support vehciles and not see all the “Bored with Jets” commercials. OLN is now called “Vs” (as in Saab vs. Cadillac). Not that Outdoor Life Network was all the catchy.

  2. I think it’s a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, it sounds like all the dollars have been claimed at GM by one place or another. I seriously doubt they’d just have an extra several million dollars lying around unspent to dole out to Saab.

    Which sucks because I think such a sponsorship would mesh very, very well with all that Saab does. But hey, there’s always wishing, right?

  3. That bike carrier was integrated to Sport Hatch-concept 2003. Btw, a detail in that pic just cought my attention. Look at the doors and bumpers.. No side strips aยดla 08 9-3. Design comes from that far.

    “BioPower Team” sounds good. Maybe crosscountry bike team, team XWD. aww… Not. But road race team would be good advertising. Team doped with biopower ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. It would be tough for Saab to justify sponsoring a cycling team – I have read somewhere it could cost $20mm a year to sponsor a team. I work in finance for a global company and we are currently evaluating our ROI on NASCAR sponsorship (major sponsor). NASCAR is really popular in the US… I doubt we will renew the sponsorship due to low ROI. Regardless of the ROI, for a small brand like Saab, it would be tough for them to spend that much capital for a risky proposition with recent scandals. From my experience, it may increase brand awareness, but does it convert to sales? In our case – No.

  5. Scott, as MarkoA pointed-out the SportHatch concept pictured had an integrated bike carrier.

    I’ve pointed-out in the past in comments here that I think that the 9-4X (damn, this stupid Windows laptop doesn’t appear to “do” superscript…) should have at least two of those integrated bike racks in addition to the cargo rails system from the inside of the trunk in the 9-5 Combi.

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