Promotes Band, Magazine and Ion Red Line Coupe

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LOS ANGELES ( -- It turns out Saturn may actually be a different kind of car company.

The automaker partnered with Jane magazine several months ago to produce a
The Saturn Ion Red Line coupe, the company's hottest new vehicle.

music video for the Nashville-based rock band Blue Merle that would not only help showcase the new group but also promote its new Ion Red Line coupe that rolled into showrooms earlier this year. It was the first time that either the automaker or the publication has ever produced a music video.

Music and parked car

The music video for the single "Burning in the Sun" premiered on the Fuse cable music channel over the Thanksgiving weekend. But as part of the partnership with Saturn, Jane's readers were able to order an advanced copy of the video on DVD. In the video, Blue Merle performs in a field in which the Ion Red Line is parked. The car is seen at the beginning and end of the piece.

Of the 10,000 DVDs produced, 9,552 had been shipped to readers as of this week. Requests have been made for the rest.

"I was overwhelmed at how quickly people paid attention to it," said Scott McLaren, Detroit-based advertising manager for Saturn. "It's getting more and more difficult to engage a consumer. We've got something out there that's relevant and they've raised their hand and said, 'I'll listen to what you have to say.' "

The creation of the video and its availability to view in advance was promoted in an eight-page insert, prominently featuring Blue Merle and the Ion Red Line, published in
The Saturn Ion Red Line coupe, the company's hottest new vehicle.

the November issue of Jane. The magazine has roughly 1.6 million readers. Separately, ads appeared on Jane's Web site, and the company blasted e-mails to its database of 10,000 readers.

"There's nothing completely in-your-face about it," said Eva Dillon, publisher of Jane magazine. "We looked at a way to incorporate the product in the video in a natural way. Twentysomethings are extremely marketing savvy."

'Blatant and honest'

"The car is there," she said. "The readers and viewers, having seen the advertorial, know why it's there. They know that this is how Blue Merle was able to get their video produced. Its blatant and honest with them."

Saturn, part of General Motors Corp., was also concerned with just how much exposure the car would get and turn off viewers.

"Based on the feedback we've gotten, I don't think anyone has said it was over the top," Mr. McLaren said. "Anytime you involve yourself commercially, you have to make sure you're not violating anyone's trust."

The idea for the video was hatched internally at Jane in July after Saturn approached the magazine looking for ways to connect with 20-somethings. Jane is a lifestyle magazine that targets media-savvy 18- to 34-year-old women.

"We came up with the idea of using emerging talent," Ms. Dillon said. "Because if they've made it, a lot of our readers have already lost interest."

$7,000 production

The magazine went to record labels and considered several emerging bands, but "thought Blue Merle was really hot." It then hired Phil Andelman to direct the $7,000-budgeted video, which was shot in one day in late August.

Saturn may be looking to drum up interest in its new line of vehicles, but the music video could also end up generating fans for Blue Merle as well, boosting sales of its album, which Island Def Jam will release in February.

"Emerging talent often doesn't have the means to make music videos," Ms. Dillon said. "And you don't usually get big unless you have a music video." "Burning in the Sun" is Blue Merle's first music video.

Jane is considering producing a second video for another band and brand.

Saturn has yet to decide where else it may next showcase the music video it produced. It maintains the rights and has yet to show "Burning in the Sun" on its own Web site. The company, however, is planning on to make DVD copies of the video to pass out at events or distribute using other means in the future. The company is also exploring other music-based opportunities that could involve videos.

'Pretty good success for us'

"This has been a pretty good success for us," Mr. McLaren said. "It really became something bigger than I anticipated. The response we got is something that was really unique. It really made waves. That's ultimately what you really want to do."

But because the video just started airing on Fuse, and the band has yet to release its first album and begin its PR push, "you can't truly measure the success of this promotion just yet," Mr. McLaren said.
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