Saab Cars North America will exclude its iconic Griffin badge from future print advertising and supplant the 5-year-old “Born From Jets” tagline with “Move Your Mind,” a corporate slogan used elsewhere in the world.

The Griffin emblem still will accompany the auto maker’s products, but print advertising now will include the auto maker’s “SAAB” wordmark. The Griffin dates back to the beginnings of Saab Automobile AB and its onetime parent, defense-contractor Saab AB.

“There was some talk of Saab not being able to use the Griffin after a certain date due to restrictions placed by the Saab defense group, but this turned out to be a non-issue,” says Steve Wade, a Saab enthusiast in Australia who helped rally support for the auto maker last year when owner General Motors Co. began its wind down.

“All indications are that the Griffin will remain on the Saab badge on the hood of the car,” he says.

Saab spokeswoman Michelle Tinson confirms the beast will remain connected to future products. The all-new 9-5 sedan coming later this summer features the badge on its hood and inside each wheel cap.

However, the Griffin was removed from the steering wheel in favor of the company’s wordmark.

Derrick Daye, managing partner of The Blake Project, an international strategic brand consultant, says Saab’s decision to partially stray from the Griffin logo may be a move to attract new buyers to the niche brand, rather than solely relying on diehard enthusiasts.

“In Saab’s marketplace now, which is a place of the uncertainty, I think they’re looking at some market research telling them there aren’t enough brand enthusiasts to warrant staying the course and keeping them in business,” Daye tells Ward’s.

“They have to find other ways to attract people to their brand. They’re probably thinking about younger audiences that haven’t been fully exposed to them and aren’t in their consideration set.”

While the Griffin’s role is diminished, Saab outright kills the “Born From Jets” tagline GM dreamed up for the launch of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer-based Saab 9-7X midsize SUV in 2005.

The idea at the time was to play up the performance aspect of Saab’s new range of vehicles, which included the 9-3 sedan with an optional 250-hp V-6 and the 9-7X with an available 390-hp V-8 engine, by recalling the company’s aerospace roots.

Saab Automobile was founded in 1947 by 16 aircraft engineers, a nugget of history GM thought would inspire the 25 to 54-year-old demographic to the brand.

“Jets are inherently cool,” then-Saab U.S.A. chief Jay Spenchian said at the time. “They represent speed, control, safety, quality and reliability. Saab is the only car company that can claim such a heritage.”

Lowe New York created the marketing campaign, but sources tell Ward’s executives within the new Saab, reorganized and sold by GM three months ago to Dutch niche-vehicle maker Spyker Cars N.V., considered it too dark.

The overseas “Move Your Mind” slogan, which asks consumers to reconsider their vehicle choices, launches in the U.S. just as Saab puts emphasis back on high-energy, low-displacement powertrains. It also unites the Saab message, as “Born From Jets” was exclusive to North America.

“Move Your Mind’ has long been my favored slogan for Saab, and I’m not sad to see the ‘Born From Jets’ tagline disappear,” Saab-enthusiast Wade says. “The rest of the world kept using Move Your Mind, which is an invitation to think differently, something Saab owners had plenty of practice doing over the years.”

Blake Project consultant Daye agrees it’s time to drop “Born From Jets,” although he says it was a good tagline. “It showed (Saab’s) great heritage and linked (it) to precision, fine-tuned technology,” he says.

“But at the end of the day, how much does that buy you? There’s probably someone at Saab saying, ‘Not enough.’”

– with Byron Pope

jamend@wardsauto.com