Engagement drives Saab campaign: DraftFCB London's Minnec

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LONDON -- DraftFCB won an Echo award at DMA06 in San Francisco for its Saab 9-3 SportsWagon campaign that combined Internet and direct mail.

At a meeting in the DraftFCB London office, agency president John Minnec told this writer that the key to success in today's direct marketing is to build a strong idea first and the channel next.

"Now it is about blurring the lines between which channel is the one to use," Mr. Minnec said. "Today we have to focus on content, and the tactic to apply is secondary."

DraftFCB's Saab campaign included a mailing and an online interactive game.

The mailing was no regular postcard or catalog, but a small paperback choose-your-own-adventure book called "The Race Against Time." The book included chapters that let readers pick where they stop for gas. The wrong pump could leave a reader tied up in the back of the trunk.

The book was sent to customers and people who inquired about Saabs on the Web site at www.saab.com and in dealerships. The campaign had a 40 percent response rate. It was more than expected and had to be curbed. Since it is Saab's policy to follow up every returned postcard with a phone call, the car manufacturer had to stop the mailing.

According to Mr. Minnec, it is this kind of idea that will engage today's highly sophisticated consumers.

"People are willing to spend time with your brand if you engage them," Mr. Minnec said.

"Good content is the way to engage them. Who would have thought that an 18,000-word piece of copy would be a hit?"

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