Off-Road ‘Sport Tourer’ Hits City Streets

NEW YORK Land Rover is heading for the urban frontier in promoting the Range Rover Sport, a new 300-plus horsepower vehicle built on a sport-wagon platform.

The campaign for the vehicle, via WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam Brands, Irvine, Calif., includes a variety of pre-launch teasers [Adweek Online, June 16].

The efforts on behalf of the vehicle the company calls a “sport tourer” will “challenge consumer perceptions,” said Andrew Polsinelli, communications manager of the Irvine-based Land Rover, part of Ford’s Premier Auto Group. “The vehicle is not what people expect from the brand.”

Subway and train commuters will see Land Rover’s ad series of “syncopated moments.” When they leave the stations, they will see rotating outdoor work on buildings, Polsinelli said.

The company has also bought placements on Captivate Networks, in-elevator video screens that show news, market information and ads. “The idea really is quick awareness with the target audience,” Polsinelli said. In Chicago, Land Rover will dominate Union Station with a animated flipbook approach. In Miami and Los Angeles, outdoor ads and “adverticket” messages on valet checks will appear.

Polsinelli said the campaign for the vehicle is, in part, an effort to move away from the “stereotypical imagery” of off-road ruggedness and durability. “Our products have moved far beyond that. So the challenge for us is, ‘How do we get the message out there, without a huge budget?’ ”

He predicted the Sport would register slightly higher sales volume than Range Rover, which sold 13,500 units last year and 4,200 units through May 2005, according to Car Concepts, Thousand Oaks, Calif.