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New Saturn Ad Line
Pushes "American" Button
Date: May 17, 2007
New Saturn Ad Line Pushes "American" Button
Saturn this week launches its first big campaign under new ad agency
Deutsch/LA under the tagline “Rethink American.”
It’s the fourth tagline/slogan creative strategy in five years. The
last two slogans, “Like Always. Like Never Before,” and “People First,”
were written by Goodby, Silverstein + Partners, which was dismissed by
Saturn last January.
The new line grew out of research that consumers still view Saturn as
something special. That, combined with a raft of new and excellent
Saturn vehicles, inspired the new line.
I can’t help thinking, though, that the line lacks dynamism, passion
and punch. It reminds me a bit of the Chevy ad platform of American
Revolution. Ironically, Saturn’s Euro-inspired designs are meant to set
Saturn apart from GM’s American iconic brands like Chevy, Cadillac,
Buick, Hummer and Pontiac.
The Saturn Aura, for example, the 2006 North American Car of the
Year, was designed and engineered in Europe, and the Saturn Astra small
car arriving this Fall is a rebadged Opel Astra from Europe.
The gamble here, if an ad slogan can be called a gamble, is that
Saturn’s excellent re-tooled product line, which also includes the new
Outlook crossover SUV and Sky convertible, can carry the “American” idea
to GM as a kind of halo brand idea.
If there is hope here, it's that Deutsch is a solid creative ad
agency. The effort Deutsch came up with for the Academy Awards, an ad
showing Saturn owners taking turns housing the Aura's North American car
of the Year award, was well thought of andn excellent ad execution that
hit just the right notes for Saturn.
I loathed the last tagline, “Like Always…” I thought it a
unimaginative bore. I liked “People First,” penned by Goodby, though,
because I thought it had legs, encapsuled an idea that was true to
Saturn. “Rethink American” has the same problem for me as “Like Always.”
It sounds like advertising line and campaign, though I can think of some
ideas about brand content that might make it a bigger idea.
Saturn has for most of its 20-year plus life been the GM brand that
attracted the highest percentage of consumers from Asian brands. That’s
why it’s so important to GM. It can’t get by just poaching customers
from Ford and Chrysler.