Directwatch: Saab - 'Mother Nature'

Saab builds very good cars. It must do, because every Saab driver I know tells me so. But they struggle to tell me why. 'They're a bit different' is the response I usually get. The thing is, so are the drivers, but I can't quite put my finger on why. The best way I can describe them is Audi drivers meet Vauxhall drivers. They love cars, but more than that, they just want to get from A to B.

They don't hanker after the ultimate Bavarian driving machines and they don't know much about engineering - although they'd never admit it. They like a bit of style, but nothing too flash.

In addition, they are all Librans and terribly well-balanced, if a little indecisive. And that's Saab's problem. It doesn't have a brand, it has an aura. It just feels Saab-ish. As a consequence, its creative is often the same: stylish work that's not too flash, but which struggles to define a brand space for Saab.

This mailing is beautiful. It feels like a Saab and contains a clear idea which is well executed. The imagery is stunning and has been cleverly retouched to make the best use of what, I suspect, are stock images. The copy is eloquent and warm, although at times it struggles with the clash between Mother Nature and the car's roof-raising speeds, but that's hardly surprising. I would even bet that the paper is recycled and will no doubt be recycled again.

Where does the rest of Saab's range of cars sit within this concept?

Will Mother Nature be called upon again? I think she may struggle to represent the new fire-breathing Saab 95, where the only thing green is the metallic paint.

This work is captivating, but will it sell me a Saab? If I were a Saab driver already, it would certainly reaffirm my Saab-ness. But if I were perusing the German shopping list, the waters in which Saab wants to fish, I'm not sure it would persuade me to take a test-drive. This is a pity, because the cars are better than you would imagine.

Saab doesn't just need great creative, it needs to build clear direction and consistency for the brand. Who knows, maybe I am a budding Saab driver, but just don't know it yet.


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