American Marketer


Land Rover enters quest for America’s Cup

June 25, 2015

Land Rover with the BAR team Land Rover with the BAR team


British automaker Jaguar Land Rover is teaming up with yachting team Ben Ainslie Racing in a bid to win the 35th America's Cup in 2017.

Land Rover will work with BAR's design and engineering teams to improve its yacht's chance to bring the America's Cup to Britain for the first time. This effort forms a part of Britain's larger GREAT campaign, a government led initiative aiming to showcase the best of the country's talents and expand domestic business overseas.

“At Land Rover we have a long history in sailing," said Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Global experiential marketing director, Coventry, Britain.

"This incredible partnership with BAR has given us the opportunity to showcase our world class expertise in advanced engineering and innovative technologies which lie at the heart of everything Land Rover does," he said.

Ancient waves

The America's Cup is the oldest international sporting event, dating back to 1851, and is regarded by many as the top trophy that can be received. The event was named for the winner of the initial race.

After a series of matches, the America's Cup pits the top two international teams against one another: the cup's defender and the challenger. The New York Yacht Club has historically dominated the event, winning the first 26.

Ben Ainslie

Ben Ainslie for Land Rover BAR

Since then, the cup has shifted between a few different teams from Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States.

The U.S.-based Golden Yachts Club won the prize in 2013 in San Francisco.

The 2017 race will take place in Bermuda, with Britain's BAR team, now Land Rover BAR, competing for the country's first victory. Ironically, the America's Cup began in Britain, but the country has never managed a victory.

Land Rover BAR

Land Rover BAR

The America's Cup campaign calls for all teams to operate without an engine and foiling hydraulics and maintain a crew of six that does not exceed 1,157 pounds.

A newly built facility in Portsmouth, Britain, will house all aspects of the team's efforts, from marketing, design, sports science and sailing.

The qualifying matches of the America's Cup will begin this summer and a host of brands are aligning themselves.

Louis Vuitton is continuing its support of the America’s Cup yachting race by sponsoring the World Series, Qualifiers and Challenger Playoffs, in addition to presenting the 35th America’s Cup Match itself.

Louis Vuitton has sponsored the America’s Cup since 1983, and over the years it has become an integral element in the prestigious race. Maintaining its dedication to this event allows Louis Vuitton to form long-lasting relationships with yachting enthusiasts around the world (see story).

British watch brand Bremont has released an America's Cup watch collection and is partnering with Oracle Team USA.

Bremont America's Cup watches

Bremont America's Cup watches

Opening up

The yachting world is insular, interconnected and highly affluent. Recently, the industry has increased transparency through digital means.

For instance, brokerage house Yacht Partners International is easing the process of chartering, selling, managing and constructing a yacht with the YPI Selection mobile application.

Enthusiasts are able to use their phones and tablets to view boats for sale, plan a trip, receive tips and find nearby yachts. When transportation brands release mobile applications, it is important to make the consumer want to return to the app through evolving campaigns and experiences (see story).

The increased visibility benefits luxury brands who can better broadcast their partnerships. Other staple luxury sports have surged in the past several years.

For example, luxury brands are waiting for the international polo season to hit full stride so they can court the affluent through sponsorships, special products and brand alignment.

Luxury watchmakers, automakers, hospitality leaders, spirits brands and fashion labels have flocked to the world of polo to cosset the crowds and gain the elite cachet it imparts. While mainstream sports provide brands with lots of noise useful for spreading campaign awareness, sports with high barriers of entry generate loyalists (see story).

Oftentimes, sports partnerships help to highlight brand values.

"Yes we make all terrain vehicles, but we will make a real difference to the performance of the Land Rover BAR team and we will help create the fastest boat possible in the hope of bringing America’s Cup to the U.K. for the first time," Mr. Cameron said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, staff reporter on Luxury Daily, New York