Saab USA “Born From Jets” Campaign Receives Award

Posted on 03. Oct, 2007 by in 2000-2009


The Effie Awards, celebrate “Ideas that work” and achieve real results. Saab Automobile USA’s “Born From Jets” campaign has received the silver nomination in coming in 6th place out of 35 overall for 2007.

Here is an excerpt about this nomination:

Saab sales were flat and, in order to grow, the brand had to evolve from niche to challenger. To increase brand awareness and consideration in the highly competitive luxury import market, Saab needed to own a unique performance claim. Born From Jetscelebrates Saab’s aircraft heritage to deliver a compelling, Saab-ownable performance message. Since the campaign launched in October 2005, Saab sales, performance attributes, and awareness are up and Born From Jet sis now the 6th most correctly-recognized automotive tagline, out of 35.

I have also provided the case study for your review:


2007 Silver Effie Winner
Saab “Born from Jets”
Category: Automotive
Agency: Lowe New York
Client: Saab Automobile USA

Strategic Challenge

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
•; 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 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%

• Saab’s ‘Born from Jets’ tagline was the 6PthP 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:, 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

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