American Marketer

Events / Causes

Land Rover shows off-roading power via European tour support

June 15, 2012


Land Rover is getting some traction on the Web with its involvement in the Pushing the Limits team’s 30,000-mile journey across Europe which the automaker supported by giving its Bursary prize to the group along with the largest monetary award donation to date.

As a recipient of the 2012 Bursary award, Pushing the Limits will support a disabled adventurer's plans to encourage understanding of the geography and to show that exploration is within everyone's reach, whatever their ability, per Land Rover. With this award, Land Rover is promoted via the Pushing the Limits team Web site and social media campaign as well as its own Web- and social media-based updates.

“Adventure is at the heart of Land Rover’s DNA and its spirit is the single most important quality of the vehicles,” said Mark Cameron, global brand experience director at Land Rover, Warwick, England. “It represents exploration – going to places where you have not been before, discovering vibrant cultures and enjoying new experiences.

“With the use of a Land Rover Defender 110, the Pushing The Limits team can really get off the beaten track and make the most of the vehicle's capabilities both in remote terrain and demanding environments, helping to turn ideas for challenging and inspiring geographical journeys into a reality,” he said.

Around the world by many ways

Land Rover’s Bursary award program began in 2007 in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society. It is awarded to those who want to journey beyond their limits.

The automaker gave its annual "Go Beyond” Bursary to support a disabled man's team journey and, for the first time, provided more than $46,000 and a Defender 110 vehicle.

Defender 110 Pushing the Limits vehicle

The Pushing the Limits team will set out on a 90-day journey of Europe during which they will travel by kayak, sitski, paragliding, hand-cycling or driving.

Team leader Andy Campbell, who became paralyzed eight years ago, will be traveling in a wheelchair. He is doing the journey for the Chutkara Initiative, which aims to provide outdoor activities for people with spinal cord injuries.


Andy Campbell

Pushing the Limits began its journey June 7 at the Royal Geographical Society headquarters in London.

The team traveled to Dover, Britain, to cross the English Channel to Calais, France, and will continue across Europe. The route will follow the River Danube from Ulm, Germany, to the Black Sea, which the team hopes to reach in September.

Land Rover global brand experience director Mark Cameron and vice president of Royal Geographical Society Paul Rose with the Pushing the Limits team

Land Rover is posting a weekly updates on the team's progress on its international Web site and Facebook page.

Pushing the Limits is reposting Land Rover’s content and sharing their own points of view from the journey with a range of social media including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

In addition, the Land Rover logo appears throughout the Pushing the Limits Web site, where the team is encouraging interactions with consumers by asking them to recommend stops on the tour that have the potential to demonstrate the go-anywhere capabilities of the Defender 110, per Land Rover.

“Land Rover has always presented itself as the upper-end Jeep that is able to go anywhere, but with a higher-class touch,” said Rob Frankel, branding expert at marketing consultancy firm Frankel & Anderson, Los Angeles.

“My guess would be that Land Rover is feeling a bit of anemia lately, most likely due to the recession and a lack of media awareness,” he said. “The brand is not highly advertised in general media, relying instead on targeted media which keeps its profile quite a bit lower.

“Land Rover is clearly attempting to reinvigorate its brand in two ways – by reinforcing its legacy of off-road capability and by embracing a cause that resonates with the younger part of its audience who dreams of an active lifestyle.”

Adventurous spirit
Luxury automakers that want to demonstrate how functions of a vehicle are used sometimes call on third-party drivers to travel with the car.

If a road tour is property documented and shared with consumers, it could help them to relate to driving a vehicle by seeing it in use, not just in a showroom or during a short test drive.

German automaker Porsche also tried this tactic with its tour of the 2013 Boxster model with stops in cities along the U.S. East Coast and let consumers follow the journey via a microsite and Twitter hashtag.

Porsche partnered with Wenner Media’s Men’s Journal to raise awareness for the new Boxster by touring a vehicle with Travel Channel host Dhani Jones starting in New York and ending in Alabama (see story).

Land Rover seems to be focusing on its qualities of ruggedness, reliability, adventure and exploration that may have been lost over the last few decades, said Bob Prosser, CEO of Auto World Marketing Corp., San Diego.

“At one time, Land Rover was the quintessential vehicle for reliably crossing vast deserts and dense jungles the world over,” Mr. Prosser said. “But, over the last few decades, as the company changed ownership five times, the reputation for being stone-reliable lessened in the consumer line of SUVs, due in part to all the added luxury, weight and complexity in the top-of-the-line Range Rover models.

“However, Land Rover and Range Rover's off-road abilities and traction technology remain second to none, and the marque still holds the Royal Warrant to the British Royal family, making it the official supplier of vehicles to the Queen of England,” he said.

“This public relations move is a good one because it has a lot of heart and back-story that parallels the Land Rover legacy of ruggedness and adventure and it will remind those who follow this trek that Land Rover can get to its destination no matter what the circumstances, just like Andy Campbell.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York