Jaguar's Curry Talks Movies, Marketing, Villains

Jaguar is coming off of the launch of its biggest campaign in the U.S., with its first Super Bowl spot ever positioning the brand as a British "villain" category challenger and spotlighting the new, eye-catching F-Type sports car. The automaker is setting up its pins for a new sports sedan and it hinted at what a compact crossover might look like when it unveiled the C-X17 concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show last fall. The automaker is also putting a focus on how its new generation of cars, starting with F-Type, benefit from Jaguar's decade-long work on advancing a light-weight aluminum body architecture. Marketing Daily talks to Jaguar U.S. brand VP Jeff Curry about the campaign, and where the brand is going next.

Q: You guys are looking for big brand awareness and consideration. But what's the retail footprint now? 



A: We have about 170 dealers, about 65% are dualled [with Land Rover], but also lots of great stand-alone stores as well, in key markets. 

Q: Are dealerships activating against the new campaign?

A: We are definitely engaged with dealers to activate against it. With a big campaign, if you are bringing that flavor you have to bring it to the dealer level to drive traffic. We aren't just asking if they want to do something, we are providing a huge range of material for showrooms, and live interactive displays where we can transmit all video in real-time.    

Q: Where will the campaign go?

A: The creative theme of the campaign will evolve, and "British Villains" is a great device for us to extend, to engage consumers with a real authentic truth about Britain in Hollywood and pop culture. The main thing for us is a consistent narrative about being a challenger brand. So as the campaigns evolve, as we launch new models for 2015, and new products and platform beyond that, you'll see that message as a constant, even if the creative changes.

Q: Wouldn't somebody argue that right now with Jaguar's limited lineup, doing something big and tentpole like the Super Bowl is a waste of money?

A: For us, it's about momentum. In 2013, we were the fastest-growing major auto brand in the U.S. And we are expanding the lineup, first with the F-Type Coupe, which brings back the Jaguar sports car for the first time in four years. That's critical because it's the halo for the brand, the heart of the brand. And [the F-Type]  informs, stylistically and performance-wise, everything we are doing and will do in the future. From a marketing consumer standpoint it is critical to talk about our brand today. That way, within the next 18 months to two years as we have this next wave of new products in new categories, the market is prepared for it. The consumer is already thinking about us in the context of the luxury auto space, and we're able to deliver against that. 

So, you have to build high-level brand awareness to boost familiarity, consideration and drive purchase. To do that, we have to start earlier, particularly in segments we aren't in today with the compact sports sedan, and the sports crossover. People know us for sports cars and flagship performance cars, but we have a broad range already today with the XF and other vehicles.

Q: Are you going to call out the competition by doing directly competitive advertising? 

A: I don't think we would do that from a nuts-and-bolts standpoint in advertising because what people are attracted to us by are emotion, styling, technology and performance. But we aren't afraid of saying we are not the usual suspects in luxury and that we belong on the same stage as "mass-pirational" brands -- the 200,000 to 300,000-volume brands who may not have that much exclusivity any more.

Q: Who is buying Jaguar now? 

A: Well, we were up 41% last year, and our median age is coming down even as we launch the high-end sports car. The styling and the fact that it’s a real sports car are attracting a younger, very affluent audience. And we have great brand appeal, but it won’t appeal to everyone, and that's okay with us.

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