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What the hell went wrong with Saturn?

I saw the headlines in the advertising trades this week announcing that Saturn had moved their account to Deutsch Los Angeles from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. I used to oversee all the interactive work for Subaru so I watched all the automotive advertising with special interest. Saturn has been able to turn a brand that had the best advertising in the industry into one that has become painfully forgettable. Their TV spot with everyone in the neighborhood driving cardboard boxes is still one of the best automotive spots I can remember. I think AdAge said it best when they accused Saturn of losing it’s soul a few months back. I even have to agree with Bob Garfield when he said “there hardly seems to be another explanation, other than maybe absolute surrender to the client’s worst instincts, to shed light on why an agency of this caliber would have produced a generic TV commercial.”

We can all guess what went horribly wrong but I think Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has consistently does some of the best work in the business so I am glad to see Saturn leave so they doesn’t drag this agency down. For me it all goes back to one core truth of advertising – great work is only possible with great clients.

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