Vue Ads Are Last Effort From Hal Riney for Automaker

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DETROIT ( -- The Saturn Corp. swan song for Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco,
breaks Feb. 12 during the Olympics on NBC for the launch of the General Motors Corp. brand's first sport utility vehicle.

The estimated $35 million effort for Saturn's Vue will continue into May and includes an aggressive national and regional print, magazines, radio and outdoor push.

Riney lost its bid to retain its 12-year account in a two-month pitch. Saturn tapped Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, for the entire estimated $300 million account in late January.

Special effects
A trio of special-effects laden 30-second create a world in which the Vue interacts with animals. In one spot, the Vue, shown the size of a hare, is being chased by a cougar. The sport utility's tagline, "At home in almost every environment," is a distinct break from Saturn's original, long-standing tag: "A different kind of car. A different kind of car company."

The TV buy includes high-visibility programming: CBS' Survivor reality series, the Grammy Awards and the NCAA's Final Four college basketball playoffs.

Print ads for the Vue arrive in March in monthly and weekly magazines.

Lisa Hutchinson, Saturn's marketing director, maintained the automaker is pleased with Riney's effort.

The review
Then why hold the review?

Ms. Hutchinson said that "it wasn't one thing" with Riney, which had had staff changes on the account over the years. "We just took stock how well-prepared we were for going forward in the future."

Goodby, she explained, "struck on all cylinders" with strategic thinking, creative and bench strength of the team.

Goodby is starting work immediately for the summer launch of L-Series mid-size sedan. Goodby will also handle the fall blitz for the Ion small car, originally the only part of the account in review.

Ms. Hutchinson projected Saturn will sell 20% more vehicles this year than 2001. The brand sold 260,730 cars in 2001 vs. 271,800 the prior year, according to Advertising Age sibling Automotive News.

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