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Extraordinary? New Land Rover marketing effort moves away from traditional SUV ads



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LOS ANGELES -- Following 18 months of launching new and redesigned products, Land Rover's 2006 marketing effort will pitch its lineup as "extraordinary."

Last year's launches of the new Range Rover Sport, redesigned LR3 and significantly reworked Range Rover helped spark Land Rover U.S. sales to a record 46,175 units in 2005, up 30.0 percent from 2004.

Land Rover wants to continue the momentum from those launches, says Sally Eastwood, vice president of marketing for Land Rover North America.

For the first quarter, Land Rover will concentrate on the Range Rover Sport. In the second quarter, the strategy will shift to the LR3. The third quarter will focus on the Range Rover flagship. The fourth quarter will see a reprise of all three, prepared by ad agency Y&R Advertising.

Eastwood says Land Rover's advertising budget will be flat from last year. Land Rover spent $41.7 million to advertise in the first half of 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The Range Rover Sport commercial is set in Tokyo. To escape traffic, the SUV four-wheels down a lengthy staircase into Tokyo's cavernous flood-control tunnels.

At the conclusion of the spot, the vehicle emerges from tunnels on the other side of a river, with downtown Tokyo as a backdrop. There is no voiceover until then, when radio personality Nic Harcourt intones: "Designed for the extraordinary. The Range Rover Sport."

The TV spots will be joined by Internet, outdoor and print advertising, which all key on the word "Extraordinary."

The print ads will cover two pages, to show off the product and its capabilities. There are no plans for one-page print ads, Eastwood said.

Because the Freelander was removed from the lineup last year and will not return until late this year, it will not be featured in the brand spots.

The sites for the other two TV commercials are still uncertain, Eastwood said.

"We are going to gravitate away from traditional SUV advertising," Eastwood says. "Consumers are not seeing these ads through the lens of an SUV, but through the lens of a premium vehicle."

Land Rover will pair the brand campaign with a regional dealer group campaign called "Translations." Those ads will show people from various countries praising Land Rover vehicles in their native tongues.
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