Jaguar Rebuilds both Brand and Product Lineup

Jaguar Cars has quietly taken steps to control its brand communications and messaging at exactly the same time it’s introducing a new technological feature into their luxury car lineup.

Jaguar Instinctive All Wheel Drive is being marketed in the US more heavily to coincide with the opening of the LA Auto Show on November 28, 2012. But it’s a subtle move for the brand, as Jaguar is coming late to market in offering an All Wheel Drive (AWD) system.  VP-Brand Development for JaguarUSA David Pryor acknowledges that luxury buyers want it all when it comes to having the confidence that their car can take them anywhere, at any time.  That confidence an AWD system imparts to a luxury car driver is something that Audi,  BMW and Mercedes-Benz have each offered for many years.

Paralleling the increase in technological content of its products, Jaguar Land Rover recently created its own in-house agency to relaunch the brand using print, digital and social advertising.  Based in London, UK and with offices in Frankfurt, Los Angeles and Shanghai, Spark 44 took over creative duties from Euro RSCG in late 2011. The agency is led by former Porsche head of Sales and Marketing, Dr. Hans Riedel.  Their first effort for their sole client saw the Alive campaign break in the US in March of 2012.

Executed as a :30 TV commercial and as a :45 web video, How Alive Are You?, spearheaded the new agency’s effort to rebrand and reposition Jaguar cars to restore its iconic status.  This coincided with a Twitter campaign tagged #FeelAlive, along with a driving experience road show of the same name.

The impact  of the Alive campaign on conversations online was sparse, but not for lack of trying.

They might have done better not wasting 3/’4 of the time before they even showed the car, but that’s what you get when you let the ad agency “artistes” indulge themselves. Personally, I think positioning a car as “alive” is ridiculous and not likely to get anyone to spend $50K or more to buy it.  February 29, 2012

 Jags are awesome! Love the new design and finally they have the technology. A few years back they didn’t have anything in their cars. Now they are good. Nicely equipped with great engines.  February 28, 2012

 I cant wait for the AWD versions.  February 28, 2012

 The rebranding effort made in the video centered on creating an emotional connection with the viewer, causing him to fall in love with the brand.  Charged with having to accomplish the two monumental tasks of rebranding and repositioning, the work was regarded by some brand communications professionals as either too subtle or as unfocused.

Undaunted, Spark 44 produced new elements of the Alive campaign specifically aimed at the introduction of AWD to the product line.  Interestingly, while the video elements continue to be aspirational and emotionally involving, Spark 44 tasked Twitter with moving the technical product data  from the brand to the prospect.

On the YouTube pages where they’ve been posted since November 18th, It Plays Well and More Alive-Extended have yet to gain any comments as of this writing.  However, there are some conversations about the television campaign.

I can count the number of Jaguar television spots I’ve seen in the last 5 years on one hand (hint: zero). In the last 3 days, I’ve seen close to a dozen. All of which revolve around the AWD option for the XJ and XF cars.  AWD might not be a necessary option, but the perception sure has given Jaguar North America the green light to market this thing. I hope it works. I just want Jaguar to succeed.  November 7, 2012

 What few online conversations there are about the campaign appear to indicate that the overall brand communication strategy laid out by David Pryor is working; keep the emphasis of the videos on rebuilding the brand’s mystique without focusing on either technology or product attributes beyond mentioning the AWD system.

The Twitter feed shows a moderately higher level of brand engagement by online constituents.

@LextonRaleigh  “@JaguarUSA: RT if you love the new Jaguar #XFRS ” I love it! Even better than the convertible. #FeelAlive  November 28, 2012

@JaguarCarsMENA  Watch the #FTYPE trailer of #DESIRE here: … #feelalive  November 28, 2012

Jaguar USA ‏@JaguarUSA  One reason to look forward to winter? The Jaguar Instinctive All Wheel Drive™ for the XJ and XF.  September 28, 2012

✗Lil Owen © ‏@YMCMB_owen  @JaguarUSA Pretty Advanced  October 4, 2012

 Responses from prospective customers reveal that those who do respond to tweets are highly engaged with the Jaguar brand, and often with one of its products.

Typically one sees more conversations surrounding an iconic brand such as Jaguar.  But that’s not the case for the Alive campaign.  Why that is so can only be a matter of speculation, lacking the kind of data and metrics available to Mr. Pryor and Spark 44.  However, prior experience with other brands in a similar situation has revealed that while most 45 year old and over folks consume digital media at an increasing rate, relatively few generate responses online.  That might possibly be the case for Jaguar’s audience, and the reason for their relative silence online.

Jaguar claims that the Alive campaign has succeeded in changing perceptions in the target audience.  The marketer also claims success in creating the space for online participants to make the leap and become ambassadors for the brand.  Jaguar Land Rover and JaguarUSA have seen an increase in the number of cars sold here in the US, a development they’ve attributed to the new campaign.  But the overall volume of cars of cars sold is relatively low compared to other automakers; 1,022 units sold nationwide for February, 2012.

If Jaguar is to survive in the US market, those numbers will have to rise overall as time goes by.  But Spark 44 is still in the throes of a Herculean task; rebranding a legendary company in a highly competitive vertical while simultaneously rolling out messaging in support of a new product feature long missing from the lineup.  Not so easy to do under the best of circumstances, let alone the current economic climate.  But Jaguar’s own history can only help that effort.  It remains to be seen how Spark 44 will build on that legacy.

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