Jaguar's new campaign: "Just Endangered Not Extinct"

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Jaguar's new campaign: "Just Endangered Not Extinct"
Jaguar's new campaign: "Just Endangered Not Extinct"

Jaguar's “Alive” campaign (or ALIVE, if one considers the press statement) is a massive branding effort unveiled Feb. 27, modernizing the luxury line of automobiles with slick new logos and some spiffy TV spots, the latter of which tout how the luxury line of automobiles “is as alive as we are.” Let us disregard that this is essentially the origin of the post apocalyptic worlds depicted in The Terminator and The Matrix and focus instead on the need for a more prominent direct marketing angle which, based on the publicized campaign roadmap, doesn't seem to be an emphasis.

To me, Jaguar's “Alive” seems like it should be called “Not Extinct.” It's a broad campaign meant to remind everyone of Jaguar's existence, like the lonely kid at the back of the classroom who buys a new wardrobe to reflect the outgoing new personality he hopes to cultivate.

A New York Times article describes “Alive's” highlights: 30- to 45-second TV spots, which will premiere during March Madness and prime-time shows in mid-March, coinciding with banner ads on major network news websites. Print ads will run in the April issues of various lifestyle periodicals.

“Alive” was designed by British-based and Jaguar co-owned agency Spark44 to place the brand in a “modern context.” Besides exciting deep-pocketed baby boomers, Jaguar also aims to build brand awareness with a younger subset: millennials that don't yet have the spending power to buy a Jaguar now but will as they peak professionally.  

But if the goal of the campaign is to establish relevance, Jaguar will need more YouTube/Facebook pages and a few snappy television spots during March Madness (the Super Bowl would have been a better opportunity considering how many people tune in just for the ads, and how often those ads get replayed online). Auto companies have been undergoing innovative digital marketing campaigns for more than a year to raise awareness for events not nearly as all-encompassing as a complete brand overhaul. The slickness of Jaguar's creative notwithstanding, the entire campaign is piddling and Jaguar is missing out on an opportunity to actively engage new demographics. 

That being said, one of the more interesting (if experimental) automotive marketing campaigns came out of Jaguar Canada. In the March issue of Direct Marketing News, we describe how Jaguar Canada used banner ads on a local search application called Poynt. The nifty aspect is that the ads sent users to different microsites, depending on whether the user accessed the banner ads from a Blackberry device or whether they used an iPhone or Android device. Jaguar's rationale was that more financially-established customers (read: those who have a better likelihood of actually buying a luxury car) use Blackberries. The younger crowd, with less disposable income, tend to use Android or iOS devices. Same goals as the Jaguar USA campaign: remind the hoary high rollers of Jaguar's viability; establish brand awareness within a younger demographic.

The Jaguar Canada campaign had its limitations: it was experimental and temporary and, of course, it targeted a much more localized demographic than Jaguar's company-wide rebranding efforts. But rather than blast a wide swath of the populace, no doubt already inured to a glut of luxury car advertisements, with even more luxury car advertisements, Jaguar Canada pushed differentiated content, based on what the company assumed would most interest potential customers.

And I think that's what is missing from “Alive.” It's a bunch of attractive creative—whether it's attention-grabbing enough I'll let others decide—accessible through the same boring, staid channels.

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