Jaguar has fixed its sights on L.A., New York and Miami as beachheads for rebuilding the brand in the U.S. The company is combining a vigorous outdoor and print ad campaign -- some 1,600 video displays, building wraps and billboards -- and partnerships with 50 or so high-end events and invitation-only test drives in those markets.
The "Jaguar XJ City Takeover" program includes putting the 2011 Jaguar XJ sedan at Edward Thomas Hotels' Santa Monica properties Hotel Casa del Mar and Shutters on the Beach. The automaker has signed a three-year concert deal with the Hollywood Bowl to sponsor the "Jaguar Platinum Concert Series" there.
In New York, the brand has sponsored the New York Yacht Club's annual Regatta, Greenwich Concours d'Elegance and American LeMans at Lime Rock this year. Jaguar and Land Rover North America combined sales are up 19% this year through August with Jaguar reporting a 62% boost in August and 13% increase year-to-date.
Marketing Daily talks with Sharon Corrigan, who has been with Jaguar Cars North America in a number of capacities since 2001 and became VP marketing in December.
Q: Why did you partner with Edward Thomas Hotels rather than a national luxury chain?
A: They are a lot like the Jaguar brand. They cater to an upscale, luxury-minded consumer, but they are unique in how they do it: very attentive to detail, very individual, comfortable and with impeccable service. It is not a typical luxury hotel. We have been able to put the car onto their home page. And we are talking to other hotels around the country. [Jaguar parent company] Tata owns several hotels -- the Pierre in New York, for instance. It's one way for us to expand marketing and actually reach out to upscale consumers who haven't considered Jaguar in the past.
Q: What kinds of partnerships are you looking at to get the cars in front of affluent consumers?
A: Within our "City Takeover" program, we did a number of events and ride and drives. A big piece of that is taking the car out of dealerships and into communities and social circles; we are working with a number of country clubs to present the car there, as we have done at Quail and Carmel Valley when we were at Pebble Beach [Concours d' Elegance].
Q: The New York program is ending. What were some highlights?
A: We did test drives and a sponsorship with Carnegie Hall with three events, and since you can't really do a test drive in New York City, we offered attendees an opportunity to come up to Monticello Motor Club in October. We will do a similar program in Miami with the XKR (sports coupe). We are just wrapping up New York.
The whole premise was to go into the markets and be big. We are a small brand with a limited budget, so we are really focusing on our three top markets. The thing about Los Angeles, New York and Miami is they are also travel markets, so a big part of our campaigns there has been a heavy billboard presence in airports -- so even by concentrating on those three markets we have been able to influence other markets. And a lot of people in Miami and South Florida are snowbirds with strong connections in New York.
Q: Jaguar is well-known, but isn't there a big challenge simply because people don't know what the brand is today?
A: Most people know the Jaguar brand, but if you ask them what our car lines are, they would be hard-pressed to name them. Over the course of the past five years, the cars have changed remarkably. We have actually used slide shows in dealer meetings to demonstrate how the product lineup has changed five years ago versus today. A big part of that is that, today, our cars -- XJ, XF, XK -- now look like they are part of the same family. Part of it is just getting people to realize that we are not the old Jaguar but a new, contemporary luxury brand. Which is one reason we are taking cars out of dealerships and into the market. The fact is, we are not on most peoples' consideration set.
Q: Where is Jaguar's opportunity in a region of the market dominated by brands like BMW, Mercedes and Lexus?
A: Actually, we play in the over-$50,000 range; the base XF starts there. So we will conquest the BMW, Mercedes and Lexus consumers, but we are also able to pull from Maserati and Bentley. We have had that ultra-luxury consumer come in and drive the car, and they love it, too. It really is a car for someone who is willing to be an individual.
Q: Why just three markets? Isn't the brand represented in other major U.S. centers?
A: We actually have 12 leading markets -- so our goal, ultimately, would be to heavy-up there: going forward we will take the practice and learnings [from "City Takeover"] to our next level of marketing. For example, we are taking what we learned and creating a dealer toolkit that includes the agency that handles our ride-and-drive events, as well as properties, banners and backdrops -- those are all things we are making available to dealers and dealer ad groups.
Q: How many dealers does Jaguar have now and how many are exclusive?
A: Jaguar has 165 dealers -- 30 are exclusive, while others are dualled with [sibling brand] Land Rover and other luxury brands. While we are supporting them from a national level with a focus on our top three markets, our plan is to take these programs to individual dealers.