The Ion campaign, which breaks tonight on prime-time network programs ER on NBC on CSI on CBS, features four friends in their Ion traveling through towns representing different stages of life, from childhood to marriage. The ads were created by Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.
The first spot, the aptly titled "Childhood," shows a town where all residents are children. That ad will be followed later this season by "Prom Night," featuring lots of high-schoolers, and "Wedding," replete with brides and grooms. Adults seemingly over the target demographic of 18 to 34 year olds are nowhere to be seen in the ads.
A spot called "College" backs the
The Ion replaces Saturn's S-series of vehicles, long the staple of the General Motors Corp. subsidiary. Saturn, a longtime small-car brand, is in the middle of its biggest product line expansion since it arrived in 1990, having rolled out a sports utility vehicle, the Vue, and mid-size car line, the L-Series.
Last January, Saturn shifted its entire $300 million advertising account from Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, which had been the carmaker's agency since its inception and was behind the customer-friendly, "different kind of car company" campaign that got Saturn recognized by consumers.
Other aspects of the campaign included sponsorship of a Goo Goo Dolls concert tour and of CBS' hit show Survivor: The Amazon, as well as MTV Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes show. MTV and CBS are part of Viacom. ION also is the official car of the Game Show Network's Cram.
The Ion launch comes as other car manufacturers are gearing up marketing plans to lure first-time and young car buyers. Toyota Motor Sales USA, for example, later this year begins rolling out Scion with innovations such as dedicated showroom sections with youth-friendly sound systems and ambiance. Attik, San Francisco, handles Scion's creative, while Dentsu's Oasis, New York, is the ageny for online advertising.