Big thanks to Turbin for digging this one up.
The Born From Jets ad campaign won a Silver Effie for 2007. Bear in mind that nominations for 2008 Effies closed in October 07 – so the 2007 Effie is largely for work done in 2006. For those of you that aren’t in the know (this included me until about 10 minutes ago) an Effie is a marketing award, described by the Effie people themselves as follows:
Effie awards Ideas that Work – the great ideas that achieve real results and the strategy that goes into creating them.
Effie winners represent client and agency teams who tackled a marketplace challenge with a big idea and knew exactly how to communicate their message to their customer.
The following is the Effie case study that details the BFJ campaign and the success that Saab have had with it during the time period covered by the award. Interesting reading, though I’d love to see those stats now that the campaign is a year older.
In a growing and highly competitive premium-import automotive segment, Saab struggled to generate top-of-mind awareness and a relevant point-of-difference. Saab drivers seek acknowledgement of their success in life, and consistently reject materialistic and common status symbols. They are modern, non-conformists among premium car buyers and look for unique and innovative brands that express their independent spirit.
After a history of positioning the Saab brand as “intelligent cars for intelligent people”, the business had been flat for some time. Essentially, there were 6 professors, 2 college students, and 3 yuppie rejecters very proud of their Saab cars, but the business was not growing and the franchise was in danger of being pulled from the US market.
To grow volume, Saab realized they had to stop being niche and start being a challenger. In the spring of 2005, they hired a new general manager with a big task: he had to elevate the brand to support the largest portfolio expansion in Saab’s history. The new client witnessed other brands’ success through high energy advertising and thought Saab’s current “State of Independence” campaign was “too quiet”. Furthermore, the dealer network was dissatisfied with the campaign; they longed for a creative refresh to give them a boost. In order to compete in the mass-market, expand to a larger audience and increase brand awareness, Saab needed to own a claim to performance.
Despite years of a consistent positioning, research indicated consumers didn’t know what Saab stood for versus the competition because they knew very little about the brand. In order to expand our footprint and retain the core business, we identified a sweet spot between our client’s vision of a mass-market success and what enthusiasts cherished about the brand.
• Create a Saab-ownable performance story
• Increase brand awareness and consideration
• Increase sales
The Big Idea
Our strategic direction had to trump the client’s expectations on delivering a performance message without compromising the independent soul of the brand. In order to understand performance and what it meant to our consumer, we conducted qualitative and quantitative research among drivers and aspirers of Saab and competitive premium imports.
The Saab Performance Deficit:
Saab suffered from a perceived performance deficit. The notion of performance is understood by consumers as acceleration, speed, handling, ride, security and safety. Examples of performance claims within the premium import category are: BMW is the “Ultimate Driving Machine”, Audi is “German design and engineering” and Volvo is “Safety”. Despite impressive performance credentials, consumers weren’t aware that Saab had a performance story to tell that rivaled the competition.
Looking Within: Jet-Inspired Performance
We returned to Saab’s roots of aircraft design for insight. Saab is an acronym that stands for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget and the brand’s independence can be traced to Sweden’s post-war aviation industry. The first Saab car was designed and inspired by their high-performance aircraft evidenced by a wrap around windscreen, cockpit interior, and sporty, aerodynamic features. The notion of “Jet inspired” was rich territory. It not only stated a claim to performance and was broad enough to incorporate other messages, but upheld the spirit of the brand.
“Jet inspired” clearly rose to the top of a spectrum of 5 Saab performance positioning concepts, though it meant a lot more to consumers than just performance. They mentioned the rational associations of an automobile built like a jet such as ergonomics, intuitive design, superior safety systems, high-technology, precision engineering and advanced materials. However, more important were the strong emotions that the “feeling of flight” evoked, like freedom, liberation, individuality, exhilaration and excitement. The idea of “jet-inspired performance” was exciting news to our consumer, and communicated both a credible and own-able performance message. The Big Idea: Saab is Born from Jets
Bringing the Idea to Life.
The dynamic “Born from Jets” campaign highlights the inspiration that designing aircraft had on developing vehicles that combine great performance, superior engineering, innovative and efficient design, and safety.
The essence of the “Born from Jets” campaign is:
Saab was founded by 16 aircraft engineers. Their spirit lives on. Once you’ve built jets, you just don’t build just another vehicle.
• “Born from Jets” hit the market in October 2005 with a blitz of media including TV, radio, print, outdoor, direct, online and POS
• www.bornfromjets.com; Tells the full story of the brand’s jet heritage
• Direct mail to consumers themed around the Born From Jets campaign.
• A mobile marketing tour in the form of an aircraft hanger
• Exposure at air shows.
• To build on our aircraft heritage theme, Saab partnered with a charity called “Angel Flight America”, a nonprofit that offers free medical air transportation for patients in need.
Saab saw a rise in performance credentials:
Saab is now on the “shopping list”.
Pre- to Post- “Born from Jets” campaign launch:
• Brand linkage to advertising up 96%.
• TV advertising made respondents “feel differently about the Saab brand”, 94% increase.
• “Transformer 9-7X” TV advertising “increased interest in vehicle” by 52%.
• TV advertising made respondents “want to drive this brand of car” with an 82% increase.
• Aided TV ad awareness rose 11% from pre to post “Born from jets” campaign launch.
• Total Brand Communication aided advertising awareness rose 6%.
• “Transformer 9-7X” TV advertising “stood out from other vehicle advertising” with a 44% increase.
Despite limited share of voice and a brand new campaign, tagline recognition is through the roof:
• Saab’s ‘Born from Jets’ tagline was the 6th most recognized and correctly attributed automotive slogan. (out of 35 tested)
Source: MITS Q2 ’06 Advertising Review & Brand Health Summary (Millward Brown tracking
study, slogan recognition and Linkage)
• “Talk about an advertising slogan resonant with engineering prowess. “Born from Jets” has to
be one of automotive history’s greatest marketing taglines.” Source: Adage.com, 11/7/05
Sales are up:
• Best January in recent history with year-over-year sales gains of 34%+
• Exceeded Q3 2006 sales objectives: Target= 9255 and Actual = 9648
Source: Saab Automobile USA Sales Reports
Budget: $20 million and over
Campaign Reach: National
Media Channels: TV, Radio, Newspaper, Trade/Professional, Consumer Magazine, Direct Mail, OOH, P-O-P, PR Interactive/Online