Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A new campaign with nothing new to say

In attempting to reposition itself, Jaguar asks the question "How alive are you?" and compares its cars to electric fans, old televisions, coal fired locomotives, MRI machines and a whole host of other heartless, non-automotive machines.

The obvious implication here is that Jaguar automobiles are machines with a pulse looking for drivers with a pulse. Performance cars that are more than their specifications. Luxury cars designed for people who love to drive. Got it.

Now, one question.

How is this position any different from those of BMW and Audi?

Having sold just over 12,000 cars last year, Jaguar needs to stand for something and stand out.

Here's a thought. Jaguar is a company rich with history. Deep in that history the phrase, "Grace. Space. Pace." was used to sum up what the company stood for. Something about those three words still feels right today.

Where BMW positions itself as the Ultimate Driving Machine and Audi uses technology like Quattro and LED headlamps to differentiate its brand of performance, Jaguar could use the concept of "Grace." as it's differentiator.

First, it's very British. Afternoon tea, Saville Row, Wimbledon and the monarchy all have a sense of grace that separates them from the institutions and traditions of other countries.

Second, grace doesn't preclude performance. You can still kick someone's butt and do it gracefully. Sean Connery's James Bond is a prime example.

Third, grace suggests style, something that Jaguar's products have in spades. Long elegant lines, meticulous interiors, and tastefully appropriate trim set their cars apart from others in the category.

Finally, no other brand in the category can own this space the way Jaguar can.

How do you execute it? That's the hard part. But nobody ever said good marketing was easy, and this new campaign just feels too easy for me. It's time for the team at Jaguar and Spark 44 to dig deeper and come up with a campaign that both honors the heritage of the brand while moving it forward at the same time.

This campaign does neither.

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