Land Rover Hits The Digital Woods

Roam-free-land-Rover-BLand Rover has focused a lot of media and creative dollars on digital marketing, perhaps most notably with an in-store "Land Rover Virtual Experience" that the automaker launched last fall.

The company says digital spend is now 35% of the marketing mix, and that it is using some of that money to boost its digital presence on social platforms like Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Tumblr.

But there are also new creative applications and digital campaigns. For example, it has just launched an app offering users a virtual journey in and around the fourth-generation Range Rover. The “Trail Less Traveled” app allows users to choose various journeys from a virtual map, then alter the perspectives, the background themes, and the technological immersions of that trip. And the company has introduced an online video comparing the brand’s virtues to the physical improvisations that free runners use to negotiate obstacles. 

The app, on iTunes.com, enables users to take the Range Rover on various virtual adventures whose particulars are intended to demonstrate how the vehicle performs off and on-road, per the company. 

Kim McCullough, brand VP at Mahwah, N.J.-based Land Rover North America, said the approach fits the owner profile. The program, she said, in a statement, "is a tool that we know will resonate with our owners and enthusiasts as they are tech-savvy and intensively active social-media users.”

The app, via Wunderman, Y&R and Blast Radius, allows users to choose a route from a map, and then see the vehicle's handling characteristics from various angles including driver's point of view. Embedded are pictures and videos of engineering and technology characteristics relevant to whatever the vehicle is doing to traverse the topography at that moment. The driver can also choose a perspective, soundtrack, and ending.

Ken Bracht, communications manager, Land Rover North America, tells Marketing Daily that "The Trail Less Traveled"  app is also an in-store tool for retailers. He says Land Rover will promote it via online video seeding and social amplification across its channels. 

Another digital effort is an online video, "Roam Free," that takes the parkour -- or free running -- urban steeplechase fad from the urban jungle to a real forest. The 60-second spot, via the New York office of Y&R, uses a troop of free runners leaping over gulches and branches, across ravines, and down hills as a metaphor for what Land Rover vehicles can do. 

The automaker, a unit of Tata Motors, said the Range Rover helped give the automaker’s U.S. sales an 8% boost last month. The company said it sold 20% more Range Rovers last month than in the month last year. The new iteration of the vehicle was unveiled at the Paris Auto Show last fall (with the Paris Opera, no less) and first delivered to dealerships early this year.

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