Next Generation Advertising: Saab of North Olmstead’s Snap Up a Saab

This is cool. Reeeeeally cool.

It’s what happens when you combine modern technology with an old fashioned contest to get customers excited about a product. I’m thrilled to report that Saab of North Olmstead (yes, they’re the ones with the swanky near showroom), has teamed up with software design company Whisteo to launch a truly novel use of QR codes to get customers interested in spotting Saabs in the wild. Many of us complain that new 9-5s are a rare sight, and 9-4xs are downright exotic. This contest should raise their visibility in Northeast Ohio by quite a margin.


For four weeks, 100 drivers each week (for a total of 400) will drive around locations in and around the Cleveland area and have their codes scanned by other drivers and at contest sponsors (Dunkin Donuts is the headline sponsor, the morning drive thru line is usually 30 cars deep during rush hour and should be an easy target for contestants). The top 24 become semi-finalists and will have friends and family vote for them on their own contestant website (that Whisteo created and we’ll link to when we get word of). The final 5 finalists are eligible to win any Saab of their choice up to $50K value (9-4X Aero, please…).

How in the world Saab of North Olmstead is loaning out 100 brand new Saabs and racking up hundreds of miles on each of them is beyond me, but good for them for figuring it out. I’ll be in touch with them for more info on this in the next few days. Their press release is vague on exactly how the winner will be picked among the 5 finalists, but we’ll update this post when we find out.Read the press release after the break.

Thanks to Fred for the tip!

CLEVELAND, Oct. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Bernie Moreno, President of Collection Auto Group, is excited to reintroduce the Saab brand with a unique and innovative campaign, “Snap up a Saab” that kicks off Sunday, October 30 at Saab of North Olmsted, 28595 Lorain Road.

Beginning at 9:00 a.m. one hundred pre-selected drivers will get registered and assigned to a vehicle. At 11:00 a.m. the 100 drivers will pull away en masse from the dealership in various makes and models of all-new Saab vehicles that have been labeled with a QR code, one exterior and one interior. The contestants will be driving around Northeast Ohio for a week, accumulating points by having the general public scan the codes using their Smartphones.

The contest will run for four consecutive weeks. Every Sunday from October 30 until November 20, 100 new pre-selected drivers (400 drivers in total) will leave Saab of North Olmsted in a designated Saab vehicle and drive around Northeast Ohio, returning it the following Saturday. During that week, their goal is to collect as many points as possible.

Each driver will have their own contestant site, which was created by Collection Auto Group and Whisteo, a local software developer. This savvy Internet platform site is where drivers will promote their participation and track their points via fans, scans, media and check-ins at various locations throughout Northeast Ohio.

“We are expecting that this campaign will not only tap into the passion of the Saab enthusiasts, but it will allow consumers of every age an opportunity to see that the new Saab brand is an affordable luxury, that’s sleek and stylish,” said Bernie Moreno.

“All Saabs offer a unique combination of Scandinavian design, safety, performance and utility. Above all, Saab puts the driver at the center of the design. We always say if you drive one, you’ll want one,” said Tim Colbeck, President & COO, Saab Cars North America. “The North Olmsted Saab Experience is a creative and innovative way to show off our product range to our contestants and to their social networks. It’s a very cool initiative by Bernie and the Team at Saab of North Olmsted.”

The top six contestants that win the most points in each of the four weeks will move on to the semi-final round. During the semi-final round, which will run from 12:01 am Saturday, November, 26 until 11:59 pm Sunday, November 27, each of the 24 semi-finalists will accumulate as many votes as possible by having fans and friends vote for them on their contestant site. The five semi-finalists that receive the most votes will move on to the final round, which will be held on December 1 at Saab of North Olmsted, where they have the chance to win the grand prize – a brand new Saab vehicle of their choice, valued up to $50,000.

There are six corporate sponsors of the contest. The platinum sponsor is Dunkin’ Donuts, the two gold sponsors are Yours Truly Restaurants and Suburban Collision Centers, and the silver sponsors are Alson Jewelers, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Adesso Fashion for Men and Kilgore Trout.

Every sponsor will have a QR code at each of his or her Northeast Ohio locations. When the QR code on one of the contest vehicles is scanned, the scanner will be shown at the nearest sponsor locations. When they visit one of those locations, they scan the QR code there and receive a special offer, which can be activated by voting for the sponsor favorite.

While the campaign was designed to generate excitement for Saab, the benefits of the campaign will also help raise awareness for the local start up company, Whisteo, the brains behind the software program. It will also provide dozens of people an opportunity for part-time, temporary employment that could potentially lead to permanent positions.

About Whisteo

Whisteo is a web-based software design company that specifically meets the needs of its customers who are seeking to increase reach, awareness and engagement using social promotions. Unlike other vendors, Whisteo provides support to enable brands to easily and affordably set up contests and promotions, manage ongoing engagements, and monitor social activity to optimize campaign performance. Whisteo’s technology turns consumers into social marketers.

About Collection Auto Group

Collection Auto Group is a privately-owned business composed of multiple automotive dealerships and an on-site performance center. Bernie Moreno started Collection Auto Group in 2005 with the purchase of the Mercedes-Benz dealership in North Olmsted, Ohio. Over the next 6 years he added Porsche, AMG, North Olmsted Performance, Lotus, Saab, Fisker, Sprinter, Acura, Infiniti, Buick, GMC, MV1, and smart.

Collection Auto Group has been recognized for many of their achievements in the automotive industry since opening in 2005, including: Mercedes-Benz “Best of the Best” Award 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; #1 volume Mercedes-Benz Dealership in the Central United States in 2006 through 2010; #1 volume McLaren SLR dealer in the world; #1 volume Porsche dealer in Ohio; First “Autohaus” designed Mercedes-Benz dealership in North America; #1 volume Saab dealership in America; and #1 Lotus dealer in Ohio; #1 Infiniti dealer in Ohio; #1 Acura dealer in Ohio; and #1 Buick dealer in Ohio.

7 thoughts on “Next Generation Advertising: Saab of North Olmstead’s Snap Up a Saab”

  1. Why had it to be done by Saab of North Olmsted rather than SCNA? Is there anybody still alive at SCNA marketing?

    I always believed Saab would be better served by local sales organizations being operated by dealer cooperatives.

    • Could it be that SCNA is behind this event and that they are going to have them all over US after evaluating the outcome? It somehow sounds like something Tim Colbeck could have come up with as his first change in marketing in the US.

      • We don’t know for sure, but I agree to your assumption that this is done in co-operation with Tim Colbeck and SCNA (how in the world would you have 100 vehicles otherwise?). Probably as a pilot marketing study of a great idea. This guerilla marketing methods is the way Saab has to work right now. Getting people into Saabs to drive them, showing them on the streets, spreading the word about Saab – this is the way to go.

        And think about it – there are a number of cars in stock. Especially in the US. Instead of having them just standing locked up on parking lots – let them roll on the streets and be seen. Let people try the unique sense of driving a Saab, Instead of just selling them with a fat discount ( you can do that when they have some mileageon the meter).
        The cars are Saabs best ambassadors.
        And cudos to Saab of North Olmstead which looks like a great dealer.

  2. That’s what I was talking about ! Clever advertising while showing around the cars. This is the most important thing, cars need to be driven so people will see them.
    More of these please 🙂

  3. Bravo! 9+ This type of marketing is exactly what Saab needs. It benefits the profile of the brand through the simply fact that these new cars exists and are out there on the road for people to see in action while using a cleaver social networking method of viral marketing that will appeal to younger audiences. It does a great deal to dispel notions that Saab no longer exists or that there company is so in the grips of money problems they can’t market their products. It also goes far to showing the commitment of your local dealer which is so VERY important at as well. I’d love to tell you about how my local dealer is not in this category, but I’ll keep this all positive.

    Nothing sells a hot new Saab like pulling up to a hot new Saab at a doughnut shop in the morning to buy a cup of coffee. “Hey, I thought Saab was ______ (pick something negative). Look at that brand new beautiful______(pick a Saab model)! Boy was I wrong about Saab!”

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