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Y&R's Land Rover Ads Elevate Dealer Tier

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LOS ANGELES The first of three regional and national cable spots from WPP Group's Young & Rubicam Brands for the Land Rover LR3 breaks Monday, according to the automaker.

The first execution ("Translations") shows a Japanese woman descending in an elevator, responding with an exclamation translated as "Wow" when she sees the LR3 electronic air suspension feature. Later, a man accelerating on a highway repeats the sentiment in German, responding to the 300 horsepower engine.

Titles translate from kanji characters and German spelling to English. A shot of an automotive award trophy caps one ad; other versions feature additional cutaways suggesting Brazil and Paris locations.

"The [Land Rover] dealer board recommended stressing a hierarchy of features," said Scott McKee, general manager, retail programs and communications, Land Rover, Irvine, Calif. "The horsepower and torque, the air suspension, seven-passenger seating, alpine roofs."

McKee said the tier-two (regional) spots leave out the terrain-response feature, a patented technology, because it was considered by board members something better experienced during test drives and difficult to explain quickly.

Despite the fact that the commercials are intended to support sales, they tread lightly on retail features and emphasize sophisticated settings. "Stylish was one of the points of the brief," McKee said. "It is already perceived as tough and rugged, but we needed to get it credit for being luxurious."

"[Director] Jeffrey Plansker [Supply & Demand, Los Angeles] is the kind of director that brings a lot to the spots because of his love of modern architecture," said Scott McDonald, acting group creative director at Y&R, Irvine. "Discovery was the last vehicle in this class, but it drove more like a truck and was more like a workhorse. When people try the LR3, there's a lot of truth to the idea of 'Wow.' "

"Our philosophy of tier-two advertising is that it needs to be feature focused, not just talk about the brand," said McKee. "So it's got to do everything: speak appropriately of the features, underscore that it's an international brand and speak to the urban consumer."

Land Rover spent about $85 million advertising in 2004 and $40 million through May 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.