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Interview

Jaguar's Ian Armstrong: 'Every link in the media chain has to be strong'

05 June 2015
Jaguar's Ian Armstrong: 'Every link in the media chain has to be strong'

Jaguar is looking to strengthen its brand appeal with the return of its ‘Good to be Bad’ campaign, starring Hollywood actors Tom Hiddleston and Nicholas Hoult.

The premium car brand, part of Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), is reviving the campaign depicting British villains to promote its new Jaguar XE model, which launched last month.

‘Master Plan’ opens with Hiddleston in an underground lair, boasting that he has deposed previous chief villain Sir Ben Kingsley, and feeding his predecessor’s bow-tie to a real life jaguar. His technical assistant, played by Hoult, unveils the new XE sports saloons, which are then seen emerging all across London.

The ad, created by agency Spark44, itself part-owned by JLR, will debut in the UK during Saturday’s (6 June) live broadcast of the UEFA Champions League Final. It will subsequently run in 21 markets, with media bought by Mindshare.

Speaking exclusively to M&M Global, Jaguar’s global head of advertising Ian Armstrong said, while he does not plan to “labour it to death”, the campaign has resonated across markets from China to Spain and Germany.

“In many markets there’s a love of Jaguar. We’re finding that people want Jaguar to succeed – wherever you go it seems to be experiencing some kind of resurgence, and part of that is the Britishness, the twinkle in the eye,” said Armstrong.

He said that Jaguar’s heritage is providing an advantage as far afield as South Korea and China, where consumers “are in love with all things British”, while he believes the XE’s lower price point will help the marque to broaden its appeal in Latin America.

Content approach

Content is one of the media buzzwords of the year – Havas Media Group even declared 2015 the "year of content” – but it is nothing new for Jaguar. Over the past four years, the brand has recruited talent such as British actor Damian Lewis and US singer-songwriter Lana Del Ray (see below) as part of a content-led marketing plan.

“Brands are all about content – the industry has just caught on to the description,” said Armstrong. “For a long time, brands have been telling stories, and that’s the way they are able to connect with people. We are fortunate at Jaguar to have some fantastic stories to talk about.”

Armstrong claimed Jaguar has embraced a new communications “modus operandi”, with all types of media feeding into a bigger idea linking a campaign together: “For some time now, we’ve been thinking about the total paid, owned and earned-media piece.

“In reality, the owned and earned happens before the paid – the chronology has switched. We have a holistic plan which recognises that we need content, and we’ve also got a PR business to generate attention. At the same time the paid assets with generate interest and conversation,” he said.

“Every link in the chain has to be very strong.”

Alex Brownsell, London

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