Jaguar Land Rover has hired Havas Formula as its agency of record for automotive and lifestyle PR in the U.S., following a competitive review.
The review, which was handled internally with Jaguar Land Rover's purchasing department, had four final competitors, but the automaker initially reached out to 15 agencies, said Stuart Schorr, VP of communications for Jaguar Land Rover North America. He said the budget on the account in the U.S. is "just into seven figures."
Previously, ASG Renaissance handled automotive PR for the company and DKC focused on lifestyle. Representatives from the two incumbents were not immediately available for comment.
Mr. Schorr said Jaguar Land Rover's in-house PR team had been able to generate publicity successfully but that the marketer had decided to "enhance and upgrade" its operations in the U.S. to reflect its growth.
In July, Jaguar sales were up 174% compared to July 2015, while Land Rover Sales increased 21% and Jaguar Land Rover sales for both brands upped 51%, year-over-year, according to the company's U.S. sales report last week. Year-to-date, U.S. sales for Jaguar Land Rover are up 23% compared to the same period in 2015.
Mr. Schorr said Havas Formula's expertise in both automotive and lifestyle stood out, as well as its bi-coastal footprint, with offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Diego. "We appreciate their understanding that a PR operation is a machine that requires a lot of hard work and administration and a great amount of creativity," he said.
He added that Havas Formula's strengths in Hispanic PR and event marketing may not have been the top reasons that Jaguar Land Rover hired the shop, but they were on the list. The agency will also partner with the automaker's internal team on managing business and corporate issues or crises.
This spring, Jaguar expanded its product offerings, said Mr. Schorr, with cars like the Jaguar XE sports sedan, which is in the same category as the BMW 3 Series, and the Jaguar F-Pace performance SUV, comparable to the Audi Q5. With the new products, he said the company is reaching a broader audience and has to engage a "wider spectrum of media," including newspapers, lifestyle brand websites such as Refinery29, men's magazines like Esquire or fashion outlets like Elle.
Havas Formula President Michael Olguin, who said he has had three Range Rovers in the past, said he will stay involved in the account going forward, along with at least seven staffers across offices.
Automotive press is always a top priority for Jaguar Land Rover, said Mr. Olguin, but lifestyle will be "equally as important." In addition to media outreach and sponsorship support, Havas Formula will engage relevant influencers, he added.
Last March, Land Rover shifted its global strategic and creative ad accounts to Spark44, which also handles Jaguar. Spark44 is jointly owned by its management and Jaguar Land Rover.