WHERE TO FIND IT: chicago.tribune.com and elsewhere
CRITIQUE: Years ago, this column featured a regular exhortation for Saturn -- a car sold more by its marketing than its dent-resistant body panels -- to strap on an iClue and do something, anything, useful with its Web site. We were astonished that the "communication" section of Saturn's site featured a postal, not e-mail, address and a graphic of two tin cans on a string. Interactive marketing? Not by a long shot.
DISCLOSURE: Now as remote-entry-key-chain-carrying members of the Saturn cult, we get all kinds of direct mail telling us to check our oil, etc. When the L-Series of cars was announced, we saw ads everywhere. But more impressively, we received a postcard the day the ads broke inviting us to an unveiling. Timing is everything.
Soon thereafter, banner ads popped up. Integrated marketing: what a concept. Things were looking so promising -- until we went to the site (www.saturn.com).
As of press time, there was a "pardon our dust" message proclaiming a redesign was in the works. This raises more questions than can fit in the new L(arger) S(aturn) wagon's ample cargo area:
Why have all other media ducks in a row, but have the Web site so far behind? Why have a disclaimer greet people instead of some splash image about the new cars? Who let all this happen? Is this what makes Saturn "different?"
Don't try to find the answers on the site because you'll get the message, "Search is currently unavailable."
Ads all feature the tag, "The next big thing from Saturn," but as far as interactive marketing goes, it turns out, sadly, to be more of the same -- which isn't much.