Now that Saturn Corp. has models in two segments, it wants to sell its S series to younger buyers and more Hispanics.
The average S series owner is 42. Saturn ads that started in early October target 18-to-34-year-old buyers for the 2000 model year.
'We can do that more safely' with the addition of the bigger L series, aimed at 35-to-49-year-olds, said Lisa Hutchinson, marketing director at Saturn.
The strategy shift comes as sales of Saturn's freshened compact models slowed in September. The company blamed the lower sales on production glitches in July and August.
Saturn sold 13,763 S-series cars in September, compared with 21,562 in September 1998.
Spokeswoman Anne Desztich said there were quite a few quality issues tied to suppliers that forced Saturn to slow the assembly line. Finished cars were held at the plant until the problems were fixed, she said.
The multimedia launch for the redesigned S series has an extensive Internet component. Internet spending in the fourth quarter will outpace the previous three, and calendar 2000 spending will be nearly double this year's budget, she said, declining to give specifics.
The company kicks off an Internet sweepstakes at www.getaclue.com later this month.
Saturn will buy banner ads to encourage traffic to the Web site. Aware of the decline of clicks on banner ads, Saturn wants to sponsor more Web events. The company sponsored the Emmy Awards Web presentation on the cable channel E! last month.
The media buy for the S series includes youth-oriented magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, Elle and Vibe. L-series ads are in Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure.
Saturn spent $209 million in measured media in 1998, says Competitive Media Reporting. Hutchinson said this summer the brand will spend more in measured media this year.
Two national TV commercials for the S series started in early October. A third arrives in November. Publicis & Hal Riney Advertising in San Francisco also created five regional TV spots and a slew of magazine ads.
All the print ads and nearly all the TV spots reflect true stories of Saturn owners. Two ads use real owners, a return to a practice the company abandoned in 1997.
Saturn is also making a bigger push for Hispanic buyers, increasing media buying in the segment by 60 percent, said Pat Henry, national advertising manager at the company.