The effort is timed with the brand's 60th anniversary next month, but doesn't allude to it directly. Finbar McFall, VP marketing at the Irvine, Calif.-based Ford division (soon to be sold), says the campaign addresses Land Rover's need to build brand awareness in the U.S. "We have lots of data we track; we are doing a very good job, our figures are at an all-time high. But if you dig deeper, our qualitative research shows inconsistencies," he says. "The Range Rover vehicle is better understood by Americans than the brand. We want to spread the Land Rover word."
He says the effort will use an off-road expertise message to promote LR2 and LR3 on the regional dealer-group level with two 30-second TV ads to run in local markets. There will also be magazine, billboard, metro radio and viral marketing elements. McFall says that the creative strategy was to make sure that if consumers see only one element of the campaign--be it a print ad or billboard--they will get the message. "With most integrated advertising you have to see it all together to get the message. What we want to do is go deeper in each area so if you just see print or digital you will get it."
Print ads, for instance, are more text-and-image-heavy than usual, with a main theme and photo, and a section at the top featuring an explorer like Ranulph Fiennes, the Red Cross, or UN Peacekeepers, or a satellite photo of their locale. Headlines for print include "The official vehicle of very official things," "Beautiful in ugly situations" and "There's only one way to find out if your vaccinations really work."
McFall says the TV spots aren't complete, but they will borrow elements of a film the company has been showing dealers. The film shows archival footage of Land Rover vehicles in the outback and jungle through the years and clips off of YouTube of current owners. "There's a serious and fun side," he says.
The company yesterday kicked off the campaign with belly bands around The Wall Street Journal. Outdoor efforts will include billboards that appear to have been deliberately tilted to a 45-degree angle so the Land Rover vehicle in the photo is on a steep incline.
Digital includes a Google Earth-like world map within Land Rover's U.S. Web site, that lets site visitors choose different countries or regions to find out what Land Rover is doing there. "We want people to realize that Land Rover is a global brand," says McFall, who says the effort will run through the year. "You will see it change slightly over time, starting with a very clear brand message. Once that's established, it will become more product specific. One of the mantras of our company is authenticity. Stories are there to be told."