Shifting gears in automotive world: Jaguar gets aggressive

By Published on .

Jag is getting jiggy.

England's lofty Jaguar Cars Ltd. is rolling the first part of an estimated $60 million global campaign for its X-Type luxury sport sedan in Europe, with work to follow in the U.S. this fall.

The sole TV spot "is a lot fresher, a lot hipper and more ethereal than anything that's been shot for Jaguar before," said Ross Sutherland, managing director and global co-creative director on the account at WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York.

The effort for the Ford Motor Co.-owned brand is the first product launch from Y&R, London and New York, which won the estimated $125 million worldwide account in February in a shootout with siblings Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson Co. (AA, Feb. 5). Those two agencies had formed the Global Communications Group three years ago for Jaguar's global account.

The campaign arrives this fall in the U.S., where Jaguar's first all-wheel-drive model will get an estimated $40 million push.

The U.S. creative will use the same footage as the European, shot in the Austrian Alps and in New Zealand. The haunting montage stems from the music-Chris Isaac's "Wicked Game." Twenty-something men and women kiss and pose in the woods and near flowing fabric. "The new Jag generation" appears on screen before the tag, "The art of performance."

Y&R, New York, handled the TV portion. Rainey, Kelly Campbell & Roalfe/Y&R, London, created print.

"The launch of the X-Type is the single biggest step in Jaguar's massive growth strategy," said Wolfgang Reitzle, Jaguar chairman and group VP of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, which includes Jaguar, Lincoln, Volvo, Aston Martin and Land Rover.

That's because the entry-level, $29,950 luxury model is aimed at buyers under 40. Jaguar Cars North America expects to sell 50,000 X-Types in the U.S. alone vs. the 43,728 cars it said it sold last year. The U.S. is Jaguar's biggest market.

The brand is trying to get the word out that it's more accessible and less stuffy and expensive than consumer perceptions, said Michelle Cervantez, VP-marketing for Jaguar in the U.S.

Jaguar's U.S. sales target is "very strong, and it has to come out of somebody's hide. The question is whose," said Jim Sanfilippo, exec VP of consultancy and auto-testing firm AMCI. It will compete against Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW of North America's 3 series and Audi of America's A4.

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