Saab Makes Web Push in Britain

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Swedish automaker Saab has begun its largest online and direct push in Britain to generate awareness and sales ahead of that country's September car registration period.


The effort combines banner ads and direct mail to handraisers who own a Saab or have shown interest in the brand. Draft London handles the account.


"We want to get people out of their BMWs and Audis into Saabs," said Arthur Parshotam, Draft London creative director.


Draft London retained the Saab account last month. The agency also won the Vauxhall business in Britain. General Motors Corp. owns the Saab and Vauxhall car brands.


The campaign precedes Britain's traditional launch period for new car models in September.


Starting last week through September, Saab's online tactics comprise skyscraper and overlay banner ads. The media buy covers about 25 sites including Yahoo Cars, Auto Express, UKstyle.com, lastminute.com and CNN Traveler.


Fourteen creative versions emphasize two themes. Some banners focus on Saab's affordability along with third-quarter offers. Others emphasize Mother Nature, or how the car copes with weather issues.


One special-offer banner for the Saab 9-3 Sport Saloon contains a headline that says, "Now look at this and tell yourself that you can't afford one." The copy reads: "Get 1,000 pounds extra in part exchange or 1,000-pound contribution towards one of our finance packages." Visitors are asked to contact the nearest dealer by clicking on the banner straight to www.saab.co.uk.


There are similar offers for the Saab 9-3 Convertible and the Saab 9-5 Estate and Saloon models.


Another rich media execution shows dramatic shots of the Saab. The line alongside says, "We build cars of such grace, power, poise and beauty. Now look at this and tell yourself you can't afford one."


Viewers roll over the model names to see prices and finance offers.


In another execution, Draft London created a banner showing the speed with which Saab's rooftop pulls over in inclement weather. "Because Mother Nature has mood swings," the headline reads. As in all cases, the banner bears Saab's logo and the "move your mind" tagline.


"Because it was built in Sweden, which is used to bad weather, whatever Mother Nature throws at you, you can cope with," Parshotam said. "It's kind of like the banners have a more gentle appeal. It's not all shiny metal and being a petrol head."


According to Draft London, Saab's target audience goes online for automotive information. The automaker claims nearly half of its leads originate from online queries. Also, 60 percent of new car buyers are online for brand information.


Starting last week, respondents to the online overtures -- along with names compiled from existing Saab lists -- will receive different direct mail packs. Draft London plans to drop 60,000 packages on the Mother Nature theme. Another 50,000 tout Saab's affordability over rival cars. The call to action, Parshotam said, is "to take a test drive, go see a dealer or get more information on the Web."


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