October 7, 2013
Jaguar Land Rover is inviting fans to follow global brand ambassador Ben Saunders as he embarks Oct. 4 on an 1,800-mile, four-month expedition from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole on foot.
"The Scott Expedition," if successful, will be the world's longest unsupported polar journey in history and aligns with Land Rover's projected image of rugged trailblazing. Investments in ambassadors can yield high returns when they engage in enterprises that reinforce core brand values.
"Back in 2008 when we started our partnership with Ben, he was really the first true global ambassador for Land Rover," said Mark Cameron, brand experience director of Land Rover, Coventry, Britain.
"As a young British polar explorer, in fact, the youngest ever to ski solo to the North Pole, Ben epitomized the spirit of the brand," he said. "His quest for adventure, to go beyond normal boundaries, both physically and mentally stood Ben apart from other explorers and adventurers.
"We are very proud of what Ben and Tarka are about to achieve and wish them the very best of luck and every success."
The Scott Expedition is named after Captain Scott's original Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1912, which ended in failure. Mr. Saunders' expedition will begin where Captain Scott left off in a bid to complete the journey.
Mr. Saunders will be accompanied by fellow adventurer Tarka L'Herpiniere. Beginning at the edge of Antarctica and traveling to the South Pole and back again, the pair will walk an average of 9.5 hours per day for an estimated 110 days.
The 1,800-mile trek will be the longest unsupported Antarctic journey in history and will take place in temperatures that reach as low as -58ºF and -94ºF with wind chill.
To add another ground-breaking dimension to the event, Mr. Saunders will be live-blogging to a global audience. Technology from Intel will allow Mr. Saunders to upload text, images, video and social media updates from Antarctica to give fans an intimate view of the journey.
Mr. Saunders took advantage of Jaguar Land Rover's Cold Climate Chamber, a facility featuring snow-covered test-surfaces and a frozen lake, to prepare for his journey.
Land Rover invites fans to follow the expedition on Mr. Saunder's Web site and blog, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google Plus.
Mr. Saunder's Web site can be found at http://scottexpedition.com/.
The right fit
Rather than select wildly famous figures as brand ambassadors, Land Rover finds candidates that embody and reinforce its core values.
For instance, Land Rover United Kingdom is honoring equestrian show jumping champion Ben Maher and dressage champion Laura Tomlinson with videos that illustrate how both brand ambassadors train for and achieve success.
The “Equestrian: Pursuit of Excellence” videos are found on the brand’s Facebook page and explore what it takes to be a champion in equestrian sports. Land Rover is likely to engage consumers more by adding digital content to go along with the selection of the new brand ambassadors (see story).
As viewers around the world track Mr. Saunder's movements online, Land Rover is likely to earn aspirational consumers.
"I think the expedition will reinforce Land Rover's values," said Al Ries, founder and chairman of Ries & Ries, a Roswell, GA-based marketing strategy consultancy.
"Buyers of this vehicle tend to be the adventuresome type," he said. "So I think they will identity with Ben Saunders as he makes this type.
"Consumers of all ages will be interested in following this expedition."
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York