Advertising that is really good gives you a reason to prefer a product when there is no reason.
That's what Hal Riney did with Saturn.
He took a mediocre vehicle from a sclerotic manufacturer, and brilliantly turned it into a desirable quantity. He did it with his unique blend of plain-talk, humor, beauty, and bullshit.
At one point Saturn had owners from all over the country driving to Spring Hill, Tennessee just to be with other Saturn owners.
He did what all the smarmy brand babblers talk about but never come close to accomplishing -- creating a brand.
On Friday The New York Times reported that Saturn was essentially dead. Since January 1st, Saturn dealerships have closed in 45 cities while GM, typically, can't figure out what the hell to do with it.
In fact, Saturn was dead the day they fired Riney. He understood the brand better than the imbeciles who paid him and ultimately released him. He had to -- he invented it.
Great advertising cannot survive the stupidity of large corporations unless there is someone at the top keeping the ignorant jackals at bay. The day the head moron at Saturn let the dogs loose on Riney, the game was over.
If ad agencies had any integrity, when Saturn went shopping for a new agency, they would have said, "We're not pitching. Here's our advice. You have one valuable asset and one only. It's your advertising. Change it and you will die."