Saturn relay pre-launch

When Saturn was gearing up for the launch of the 2005 RELAY, the company's first foray into the SUV market, they wanted to make sure that their new line of cars carried with it Saturn's established core values of family and honesty. Cossette Toronto's Fjord Interactive and Blitz took on the challenge of creating awareness about the new vehicle. Targeting Saturn's traditional demo (35-44, married with one or two kids), the agencies put together a varied campaign that included promo features on Saturn.com, a mini-site that incorporated talk of family, a Web-based contest for a year of free gas and DM that included a map of Canada. In all, the effort exceeded company objectives by 300%.

When Saturn was gearing up for the launch of the 2005 RELAY, a crossover sport van, they wanted to make sure that their new line of cars carried with it Saturn’s established core values of family and honesty. Cossette Toronto’s Fjord Interactive and Blitz took on the challenge of creating awareness about the new vehicle. Targeting Saturn’s traditional demo (35-44, married with one or two kids), the agencies put together a varied campaign that included promo features on Saturncanada.com, a mini-site that incorporated talk of family, a Web-based contest for a year of free gas and DM that included a map of Canada. In all, the effort exceeded company objectives by 300%.

Grey Worldwide Canada’s VP, executive CD Marc Stoiber and Marketel’s VP, CD Gilles DuSablon take the campaign for a test drive and tell us what works and which parts need to be taken into the shop for repairs.

Overall concept

GD: The idea is good. Simple. Clear. The mechanics of the whole thing work perfectly.

MS: Conceptually, the campaign was a bit inconsistent. I saw a direct mail piece that talked about exploring all of Canada with my Saturn Relay. Then I saw a mini-site that was all about family. The only thing tying them together was the vehicle!

Contest

GD: With the price of gas, why not give a free year of gas? I think it is a great incentive.

MS: A year of free gas. Efffective, yes. But not terribly original.

The contest was easy to understand, easy to access on the mini-site, and easy to enter.

Mini-site

GD: No surprise. Easy to understand. It is totally dedicated to the new Relay, which is great. By contrast, the contest form is a little bit plain, with only one page.

MS: The mini-site was nicely laid out. It was easy to navigate, and full of nice touches when I moused over elements of the pages. Car shots were in abundance. One shortcoming – I noticed there were no reviews, or comparison charts…something consumers want to see when they hunt online for info.

Creative

GD: The photo of the Relay in the DM could have been better. The angle of the picture was too dramatic to see the new Relay.

MS: I thought the creative was clean, nicely executed…but ultimately lacking in the humanity of previous Saturn advertising. Sure, there were family photos on the mini-site, but that doesn’t come near the family warmth seen in previous work.

Diect mail

GD: To propose a map is great. The way the map is constructed is very user friendly. But why not send a regional version of each map for each part of the country? It would have been a real keeper.

MS: The DM was a departure from the rest of the advertising. This left me a bit perplexed, and wondering why.

The concept in the direct mail, ‘See all of Canada in your new Saturn’ was nicely executed but not terribly original.

The creds:

Jessie Sternthal, Corey Wainman, Diane Gagne, copywriters; Lina Cleovoulou, Kendra Grudnik, Anna Galkina, Noel Naguiat, ADs; Elizabeth Yanitsky, CD; Nadia Duriavig, account director; Ricky Jacobs, Adam Luck, Donna Dowsett, account managers; Joanne Sincich, Carrie Bradley, producers; Andrew Ashby, Felix Wardene, Chris Gardner, Web developers; Deborah Leung, usability expert

Note: This article has been updated. In the original version, the Web site URL was inaccurate and the Relay was mistakenly identified as Saturn’s first SUV.