It's a fact! Saab drivers greet each other. Still and for regional reasons perhaps more than ever. But why do they do that? Even the most die-hard fans can't give a valid answer. It's always been that way, you'll hear when asked.
Maybe that's how it is. But there could also be a completely different reason for this. An advertising campaign by Saab Germany from the 70s takes up this topic. Is there a marketing strategy behind it that was so successful that greetings are still used today? Or was the greeting first and then the advertising?
A question about the well-known chicken-egg principle.
Saab drivers greet each other - but why do they do that?
In the fall of 1974, Saab Germany launched a new advertising campaign for the 99th. Or perhaps an advertisement for Saab drivers greeting each other? It's tough. The explanation that the Swedish manufacturer provides is less complicated. It sounds plausible.
Because Saab drivers, he suspects, have a lot in common.
There is the professional success to be able to afford a Saab 99. Which is certainly correct, because the 99 is much more expensive than the products of its market competitors. Then there is the car sense that you need to be able to judge the qualities of an automobile (Saab). And of course the copywriters bring individuality out of the marketing machine, because without the inclination to do so, you wouldn't be able to appreciate the progressively innovative 99.
This is tough marketing stuff that is supposed to connect people. Did he really do that? Did social success and the joy of it go hand in hand with automotive expertise?
Marketing, diaspora effect, what’s behind it
Or was it actually the diaspora effect at Saab? A small, conspiring minority is found because they are convinced that their product is, on the one hand, special and, on the other hand, better in many details than what the rest of the world is driving? Maybe she also thinks that it looks better, has a pretty special design and of course the car key only sits in the center console.
It is difficult to judge what was on the mind of the German Saab driver of the year in 1974 to greet his brand colleague. In this case, I'm too young to be able to judge it reliably. It was probably pure joy to meet a like-minded person in the endless expanses dominated by Opel, Ford and Volkswagen.
At least that's how it feels for most of us today.
Perhaps, it is also possible, the campaign had a precursor. The greeting itself could possibly have a deeper reason. It may have come to Europe from the US market; in North America it is said to have been common in Saab circles early on. We don't know, it's Saab archeology, and whenever a new artifact related to the iconic Swedish brand lands on my desk, I'm happy about it.
We're bringing the Saab campaign back to the present
Car culture can be exciting, we still have mountains of treasures to uncover. Perhaps there will be another Saab campaign that reports more about the phenomenon of greeting each other.
We have digitized the campaign from autumn 1974 (Link) and brought her back to the present. Just as greeting is still relevant, as long as there are Saab vehicles on the roads, the campaign is also valid. The print can be purchased - as a reminiscence of old days and the present - from Tuesday in the Aero X Club Shop (Link) be ordered.