Saab holds UK showcase in Farnborough

The GM brand chose Farnborough to launch its new model to UK dealers.

Saab holds UK showcase in Farnborough
Saab holds UK showcase in Farnborough

Client: Saab GB
Event: Saab 9-5 UK showcase
Group size: 800
Agency: TRO
Dates: 14-17 October 2009
Venue: FIVE/The Aviator
Budget: Undisclosed

The brief: Saab had not launched a new model in several years, so the reveal for the new 9-5 was much anticipated. The car was officially launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and goes on sale next spring.
TRO was briefed to organise an event to showcase the car to Saab GB internal staff, dealers, media and consumers. This included four days of back-to-back presentations and hospitality that needed to meet the different requirements of each audience.

Challenges: GM marketing operations manager Keith Michaels says timing was a major challenge. "The brief from Saab Sweden didn't give us very much lead time so everything had to be done on a pretty compressed schedule," he says.
This was largely due to the fact that the cars and signage were being used for a European roadshow, and it wasn't known until fairly late when the UK event would run. This also meant limited build-time for the event.
TRO client service director Michael Wyrley-Birch says finding a venue and hotel with good accessibility by road for the UK attendees and air for the Saab team flying in from Sweden, at short notice was a challenge.
At the time of the event, ownership of Saab was due to be handed back to the Swedish Koenigsegg Group - the deal has since fallen through and as C&IT went to press, GM was seeking a new buyer for the brand - so the hospitality around the event needed to highlight a return to Saab's Swedish roots.

Solution: FIVE (Farnborough International Venue & Events) and the nearby Aviator Hotel were selected for the event, as the venue offered a blank warehouse space that could be completely transformed to reflect the Swedish design principals of Saab.
Wryley-Birch says the agency was able to get around the short lead time by working closely with Michaels and his team. "Keith was able to get decisions from Sweden quickly, which made a real difference," he says.
TRO outsourced catering to Chilli Pepper, which delivered a set authentic Swedish menu including Matjes pickled herring and smoked reindeer salad.

Execution: TRO worked closely with Saab to transform the venue, converting the space within FIVE into a hold/reception area and the Saab Gallery, which Michaels described as a "clean, crisp, white box".
Across the four days, back-to-back groups of between 80 and 120 attended welcome receptions, followed by presentations covering the 9-5 model and its design, with presentations by the global CEO of Saab and the designer of the new model, followed by the Swedish meal.

Verdict: "The rating on all aspects of the event was very high," says GM's Michaels. Overall, the event scored 9.01 out of 10, and the question, 'did you find the event useful?', received a rating of 9.20.
David Pugh, general manager - sales and marketing strategy Saab GB, adds: "TRO did a great job to deliver a tremendous brand experience with very little planning time. The overwhelmingly positive response from all our audiences is testament to the excellent work done by the whole team."

 

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