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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.

1 Comment

  1. chris

    March 1, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    dude, so perfectly well articulated!

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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