A number of brands have started going the cause-vertising route, especially when a natural calamity/untoward event occurs. In fact, time and again, brands are releasing topical ads which deliver social messages in an attempt to do greater good for society. The biggest example is Samsonite's ad - #KeralaIsOpen - launched last year and aimed at reviving the tourism industry in the state post the devastating floods. Now, Land Rover - Discovery, seems to have taken the cause-vertising route as well with a digital and social media campaign titled - 'Never Stop Discovering' - to create conversations around India's wildlife conservation.
'Never Stop Discovering - Tracking The Panther', is the latest film released by the auto major. It seems more like a wildlife documentary and less like a typical SUV ad. For a moment, one could even wonder if it's an ad released by a state tourism board.
Conceptualised and created in partnership with Conde Nast Traveller India along with the brand's creative agency - Spark44, the campaign will be carried and promoted via all social media, digital and CRM channels of Land Rover India. The vehicle showcased in the film is the Land Rover Discovery Sport, powered by a 2.0 L Ingenium Diesel engine. It is manufactured at the brand's Pune facility and continues to be one of the best-selling SUVs in India.
The 'Never Stop Discovering' campaign consists of three films. The first film, released in February this year, focuses on the stimulating stories of journeys in a Land Rover Discovery Sport to Nagarhole National Park, showcasing initiatives in the field of eco-tourism which is providing impetus to wildlife conservation in India. The second film will be released in March and the third in April.
The films feature 'big cat specialist' and wildlife photographer/cinematographer Shaaz Jung for the Indian Leopard and the very elusive Black Panther; Aly Rashid for the Sloth Bear in Satpura National Park and Harshawardhan and Poonam Dhanwatey for the Bengal Tiger in and around the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
The campaign follows and is inspired by, the successful 'Discovery With A Purpose' journey, undertaken in February 2018 in Land Rover Discovery vehicles. It covered 1,200 km across various forests and terrains of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, generating awareness around India's endangered wildlife.
"Luxury consumers are knowledgeable, well-travelled and discerning. The challenge for us is how best to meet their rapidly evolving tastes and preferences, both in terms of content and media. The key is to keep experimenting, to break the clutter and keep the marketing plans flexible to adapt to the changing market dynamics," says Ankur Kansal, brand director, Jaguar Land Rover India.
He adds, "For a luxury brand like Land Rover, video content is a powerful means of communicating compelling brand stories. The three-part 'Never Stop Discovering' series is an attempt to bring the Land Rover brand closer to our customers and inspire them to undertake purposeful journeys."
Quite evidently, the brand launched it's Land Rover Everyday Legends' campaign in 2018 to share the stories of Land Rover owners and how they fought all odds to help people who have been affected by the floods that hit Kerala last year.
Revving up the battle in the luxury segment
The overall luxury automobile market in India is around 42,000 units annually, to which luxury SUV's contribute over 50 per cent, growing at 15-20 per cent YoY, faster than the growth of the overall luxury automobile market. Some of the key players in this category include - BMW X4, Lamborghini Urus, Jaguar F-Pace etc.
While the luxury automobile industry has seen reasonable growth, it could have been much higher had it received the right policy impetus in terms of optimum taxes and duties. This has really stunted the growth and the market hasn't lived up to its true potential as high taxes - GST @ 50 per cent for SUVs and 48 per cent for sedans - have proven to be a dampener. This has been unhelpful in realising the potential of creating jobs in this sector.
However, in such a highly-competitive market Land Rover Discovery Sport enjoys a unique position in the Rs. 45-60 lakh luxury SUV segment. It is the only SUV that offers a 5+2 seating configuration. And with 600 mm of wading depth and other terrain response and safety features, the Discovery Sport suits the Indian roads. It is the best-selling Land Rover in India with all towns and cities contributing to its success.
"The brand focuses on delivering a best-in-class digital experience. Online booking gateways, findmeasuv.in for (Land Rover) and findmeacar.in (for Jaguar) have been created to provide customers with a seamless digital experience," informs Kansal adding, "While the digital experience is important, it is also critical that our retailer facilities are world-class. We are continuously expanding our retailer foot-print and now have 27 outlets across 25 cities in India for an unmatched experience across online and offline sales channels."
The 'Never Stop Discovering' campaign went live in February 2019 and will run through the summer. The initial response to the campaign has been quite good with the combined views on social media channels exceeding two million which, for a luxury brand like Land Rover, is a great result.
We asked the experts, if by following the cause-vertising route whether the brand will succeed in projecting the newly-launched Discovery Sport (2019 edition) as the strongest contender in its category in the Indian auto bazaar.
According to Sudhir Nair, founder and CEO - 21N78E Creative Labs, Land Rover plays at a completely different price point. The intended TG and end-users are quite different. The brands it competes with are also different. Hence, product integration and context is fine.
He says, "Land Rover is a powerful machine capable of moving seamlessly in tough terrain. Doing a brand film for an SUV and particularly Land Rover would have been a waste if it was in any other setting. It's shot beautifully with a good narrative. Sometimes mass-marketing can be counter-productive. I would much rather do a series of such films with Shaaz Jung."
On the other hand, Jaideep Mahajan, national creative head, Rediffusion, feels that the decision to create a new conversation for established brands such as this is certainly appreciable intent. And that Land Rover Discovery is not trying to take on any brand, but create its own story.
Mahajan, however, maintains, "I preferred the integration of the Land Rover in the 2018 series. Also, the pacing left a lot to be desired and, after a while, the film felt tedious and flat, devoid of excitement and a sense of achievement. Some parts even felt sentimental instead of emotional, while much of the film was filled with 'beauty' shots that slowed the film down even more."
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