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Old 10-14-2005, 05:48   #1 (permalink)
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US:Jaguar aiming for the 'gorgeous' set with new brand advertising campaign

Jaguar aiming for the 'gorgeous' set with new brand advertising campaign

MARK RECHTIN | Automotive News

LOS ANGELES -- Jaguar's new brand advertising campaign prowls the province of Gatsby's upper class.

Leggy supermodels recline vacuously on chaise longues. Their unspeakably attractive friends attend a lavish dinner party. The Jaguar resides in the owner's stable, alongside the Agusta helicopter and Lurssen megayacht.

The ads vividly portray the entitlement of the Dom Perignon-swilling elite, for whom material achievement is a given. They also subliminally cultivate the envy of the lower classes, for whom a Jaguar XJ sedan is as unattainable as a date with Penelope Cruz.

The idea is nothing new among automakers: giving a sense of extravagance to a rather ordinary purchase that consumers make every few years. With a series of TV ads starting this month, Jaguar takes its vehicles out of the realm of transportation and into the realm of luxury items.

'Beautiful, fast cars'

"There had been a period where Jaguar was trying to be something that it is not," says Bibiana Boerio, managing director of Jaguar Cars. "We had lost something along the way. We needed to bring Jaguar back to the things it stood for -- being about beautiful, fast cars."

The ads borrow ideas from the world of couture, where image is as important as the product. The Jaguar spots suggest Tommy Hilfiger. If the commercials had a scent, it would be Chanel, not gasoline.

"This is a needed message, to put the cachet and glamour back into the Jaguar brand," says C.J. O'Donnell, executive vice president of marketing and sales for Jaguar North America.

Jaguar calls the campaign "Gorgeous." Actor Willem Dafoe repeats the word often in his voiceover narration of one of the ads.

"Gorgeous makes effort look effortless. Gorgeous has no love for logic. Gorgeous gets in everywhere. Gorgeous pays for itself in the first five seconds. Gorgeous is worth it," Dafoe intones over a haunting keyboard track.

Jaguar's new global ad agency, Fuel, conceived the campaign. Fuel, an offshoot of Euro RSCG, shot the three TV spots mostly in black and white. They intersperse shots of Jaguars in motion with scenes of the languid life of the jet-set elite. Two of the ads have only background music, without narration.

The commercials will be almost identical around the world. Boerio notes that most Jaguar customers share common lifestyle denominators. The automaker need not make changes for specific markets, she says.

Jaguar plans what it calls "stunt executions," in which it will use 90-second commercials next month in metropolitan markets such as New York, San Francisco and Miami. The spots will appear during such shows as "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and "The American Music Awards," all on ABC.

Later, 30- and 60-second versions of the ads will appear regularly on TV. The commercials also will be shown at art-house cinemas.

Jaguar is running print ads for the campaign in such high-end magazines as W, Conde Nast Traveler and The Robb Report.

Hoarding shekels

Jaguar declined to disclose the budget for the campaign. "We have hoarded our shekels for this moment," O'Donnell says.

Jaguar is launching the campaign at a troubled time. Through the first nine months of 2005, Jaguar's U.S. retail sales are down 31.7 percent from the year-ago period.

Much of that decline is the result of an intentional reduction by Jaguar of production of the entry-level X-Type. But U.S. sales of all Jaguar vehicle lines are down from last year.

At some point, might commercial pressure overcome Jaguar's desire to re-establish the brand? "If this is going to work, we have to control our inventory and incentive spending," O'Donnell responds.

Adds O'Donnell: "We have to find a better balance of what supports and builds the brand, as opposed to what merchandises and weakens it."
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