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A new TV commercial due this fall was shown in storyboard form at a Saab owners convention last week, and the work says a lot about a newly aggressive Saab Cars USA.

Saab President Joel Manby provided the advertising run-through, including his own sound effects.

In the spot, he said, a Saab 900 Turbo coupe rises up in front of the camera, with a hydraulic lift locking in place-"Ker-chunk." The driver floors it-"Screech! Zoom!"-and lines on the road surface fly under the car. Proposed voice-over: "The Saab 900 Turbo goes zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds."

Then the driver hits the brakes, and antilock brakes stop the car in no time-"Chudda-chudda-chudda!" No screech. Voice-over: "More importantly, it goes from 60 mph to zero even faster."

The camera pulls back to show that the car is on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, with the tag, "A little something we picked up from Saab jet fighters."

The spot is the first from the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., and represents a departure from the animated "Find your own road" campaign from former agency Angotti Thomas Hedge, New York.

Mr. Manby said the new campaign will attack BMW on performance and go after Volvo on safety, while capitalizing on Saab's high-tech aerospace heritage.


"We want to put Saab safety in the same league with the leaders. Volvo has this reputation to itself, and it's not fair, and it's not right," Mr. Manby said. He added that Saab wants to make individuality "a benefit of the car" not the keystone of the ad campaign, as had been done previously.

Copylines from print ads include: "Safety marries performance. They elope"; "If there were elephants in Sweden, we'd have a safety test for that, too"; "A seat so advanced it protects the brains that bought it"; "Stop for a second and think. Now you're ready to buy a Saab"; "If Saab makes the safest cars in Sweden, and Sweden makes the safest cars in the world . . . "


Saab reportedly has budgeted $40 million to $45 million for advertising, up from $25 million to $30 million two years ago.

Starting next year, Saab has the biggest run of new products it has had in a generation. The old 900 was 15 years old when the new 900 replaced it in 1993. The 9000 will be 12 years old in the U.S. when the 9-5 model replaces it next year.

The new 9-5 goes on sale in Europe next month; the U.S. unveiling will be at the Detroit auto show in January, although the car was shown to owners attending Saab Jubilee USA. The official U.S. on-sale date is April 2.

A wagon version of the 9-5 is due in fall 1998. The wagon also could get a sporty "Aero" package. The newest, facelifted version of the 900, to be badged 9-3, also comes out next year.

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