GM Gets Blogs. TV Is Another Story.

Good PR people today recommend that clients jump fearlessly in to the bloatosphere and join the conversation, as opposed to pretending it isn’t happening. Nathan Lyst of General Motors has taken that advise to heart. Here’s what he has to say in defense of his “Born from Jets” advertising campaign.

Thought I’d open myself up for direct assult and at the same time defend our choice in development of the “Born Form Jets” campaign.
I am the Saab Advertising Manager.
As for the strategic direction… “Born From Jets” is the most consumer relevant answer to the question; “Why buy a Saab?”. Saab’s aircraft heritage provides the foundation with which to explain the benefits of Saab’s uniquely designed and engineered vehicles.
The initial creative was purposely designed to overtly establish the fact that Saab was literally “Born from Jets”. This foundation is essential. We have found that once this fact is established it causes consumers to seek out more information. Whether through our website or through a visit to a dealership (both of which have seen increased traffic after the new creative started).
Based on the previous posts, I doubt I will be successful in changing your perspective on the campaign. Everyone’s an advertising expert (or at least they think they are). At the end of the day the results speak for themselves.

I wrote to Nathan this morning thanking him for braving the AdPulp waters. I also explained that I fully recognize he may have a successful campaign on his hands, and that my judgment is limited to the quality of the creative product. We all know creatives judge work differently than clients, or even account executives. The question for me is, “Would I want this work in my portfolio?”
Here’s the answer. I like the tagline. It delivers the brand’s heritage positioning in a clean, easy-to-recall way. But the TV is weak. First of all, how many car spots are shot in the Utah desert? Too many. Second, the jets in the spot are rendered in a fake, if not cheesy, manner. They’re flying too low to the ground and following, not leading, the car. Jets don’t do that. Suspend disbelief, I know.
So for me, it’s about poor production values and the lack of a big idea. For the record, I think Saab can come back with more creative executions of their strategy. In fact, I hope they do.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.