Range Rover Gets ‘Respect’ In First TV Spot in 5 Years

Y&R effort meant to make SUV stand out amid greater competition

Seeking to build awareness for its redesigned Range Rover in the crowded luxury-SUV field, Land Rover North America on Wednesday launches the first TV work behind the model in five years.

A 30-second spot created by Young & Rubicam in Irvine, Calif., shows a Thai village. A group is carrying a covered litter, presumably with someone of great importance inside, and the streets are lined with onlookers. A drum and flute soundtrack plays.

When a Range Rover approaches the intersection, the music and procession stop, and everyone stares. A hand emerges from the litter and beckons the Range Rover to proceed. As it does, the music resumes. The word “Respect” appears onscreen.

The spot retains the Land Rover tagline, “The most well-traveled vehicles on earth.”

“It’s unlike any vehicle of its status,” svp, group creative director John Hage said of the SUV. “We want to communicate the Range Rover peerlessness within the worldly brand.”

The spot will run nationally on cable networks such as CNN, ESPN, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, HGTV and the Travel Channel.

The third-generation Range Rover launched this month with event marketing and print ads; TV was added to draw attention to the vehicle amid heightened competition. New luxury SUVs in recent years include the BMW X5, Lexus LX 470, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator.

“Our biggest challenge now is how competitive the marketplace is with all the new entrants,” said Andrew Polsinelli, marketing communications manager for Land Rover in Irvine, Calif. “We used to be one of maybe two premium products, [and] now there’s a whole passel.”

But after several years of declining sales, Range Rover is on the upswing. Sales through May are up 83 percent to 3,718 vehicles from 2,036 for the same five-month period in 2002.

While many people recognize the Range Rover name, they do not know a lot about the vehicle, and their impressions are often based on older models, Polsinelli said. “Last year, we introduced an entirely new car and launched it through print only. Not everyone got the message,” he said.

Range Rover is targeting consumers ages 35-50—younger and more affluent and well-traveled than the typical luxury-vehicle buyer, Polsinelli said. The vehicle retails for approximately $70,000.

Y&R took over the $50 million Land Rover account in October from GSD&M after a consolidation by the brand’s parent, Ford Motor Co.

Land Rover spent $15 million on Range Rover ads last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Spending will increase in 2003, Polsinelli said, though he declined to give specifics.