The voiceover narration began by lamenting the "sameness of our modern lives." The TV shows all seem to have the same basic plots, said the disembodied voice. Same thing goes for major motion pictures, which all seem to be remakes of 35-year-old sitcoms. Saab punctuated the point by reminding listeners that we all seem to wear pretty much the same style of clothing these days.
But, when the spot ended, I realized that something wasn’t ringing true. And then it hit me. As the narrator bemoaned the sameness of today and contrasted that drabness with the unique qualities of new Saab automobiles, the background music was The Who’s 1969 song entitled, "I’m Free." Bingo. I realized what was wrong with the spot. In an attempt to differentiate their client’s car by talking about its unique safety qualities and stylish curves, the ad guys goofed by using the same advertising approach every other car company has been using of late: leveraging songs from rock and roll dinosaurs such as The Who, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones to connect with baby boomers who still think of themselves as being hip and relevant.
How sad, I thought. Saab had come so close to breaking through the clutter by correctly positioning its car’s very different attributes. Instead, Saab blew it by using the same old rock songs everyone else uses.
So, in the end, Saab marketers ended up embracing the very sameness they criticized in their copy.