• Jun 20th 2007 at 12:03PM
  • 45
We recently discovered this article from Brandweek/Adweek about a new marketing campaign for Land Rover that leaves a bad taste in our mouth. Ad agency Young & Rubicam Brands took the Land Rover LR3 to actual disaster areas and filmed it among the wreckage to create spots that present the SUV as a "hero car." The campaign's theme is called "Created for the one," the idea being that the Land Rover LR3 was designed to handle that one unexpected event like a snowstorm, flood or hurricane.
To film these spots, however, the production crew actually monitored where natural disasters were occurring in the U.S. and arrived on the scene to shoot the LR3 among the wreckage. Last month they were in Levasy, Missouri, which had just been hit by flooding. Y&R creative director Miles Turpin is quoted as saying, "When it snows big time, we'll go out and do that. And when hurricane season starts, we'll go there."

The agency is reportedly aware of potentially being judged as exploiting disasters, and will offer its vehicles to emergency personnel or, as it did in Missouri, make donations to relief organizations. In our opinion, that doesn't mitigate the fact a natural disaster that caused suffering in the lives of real people is being used as a backdrop to help sell Land Rovers.

To be fair, this article was written with the marketing industry in mind as an audience, not us. The agency, which is just doing its job, comes off as insensitive and exploitative to our ears, but a professional in the biz might think this idea is genius. And while it's a good thing that Land Rover may donate money or the use of its vehicles to aid disaster relief efforts as a result of this marketing campaign, that bad taste in our mouth comes from the fact that it likely wouldn't do those things if a camera weren't there to capture it.

[Source: Brandweek]


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  • 45 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's the same when you exploit a Romenian couple's death in 20 posts, just for some more clicks... ;)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't see what all the huff is about. They simply want to show the Land Rover in harsh environments. From those pictures i can't even tell where the damn car is. It's not like they're making disasters happen.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Thanks for everything, Land Rover!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Land Rover used to have great advertising - really inspired witty stuff.

      Looks like the brain trust at Y&R has pretty much hit rock bottom with this disaster (pun intended) of an ad campaign. Nothing like placing your client in the position of exploiting the suffering of the less fortunate few, to sell the appeal of privileged access to security.

      Miles Turpin is probably on his way to Darfur with a few Range Rovers and a film crew to add some "edge" and "grit" to the campaign... Douchebag.
      Roger
      • 8 Years Ago
      How dare them use a disaster site to sell anything! Woops. Newspapers, Life insurance agents, drug companys, and on, and on, and on. Misery money.
      nettie
      • 8 Years Ago
      The car ad fails to mention the fact that the sheer amount of gas guzzling, pollutant admitting SUV's on the road, could be contributing to the changes in the planet that CAUSE natural disasters. I hate people who drive SUV's.
      Reese
      • 8 Years Ago
      By the way, there was no mention in the copy of my ad which had anything at all to do with the Simpson trial. The headline was simply:

      The verdict is in.

      The copy made liberal use of legal terminology or courtroom-speak, if you will.

      My job as the copywriter? Get people to READ THE AD.

      The single most compelling fact about the race series was simply that one car company dominated the rest of the field; that, and the inescapable reality of life in America during the so-called "trial of the century" being that every minute of every broadcast day seemed devoted solely to that story and that story alone.

      I felt the headline was likely to compel folks to read at least part of the ad. And, if I got them to read part of it, reading the rest was a foregone conclusion.

      Garfield took exception, writing about the way "clever advertising takes advantage of current events to bring an ad to life, to make it timely," then went on to say that my execution wasn't clever, merely offensive.

      "Did this copywriter, in an effort to be cute and clever, not take into account the grieving Brown and Goldman families?" he wailed?

      As a matter of fact, I did. I happened to be in West Hollywood the weeks leading up to the verdict, working on a TV spot.

      I even had the bizarro-world experience of being at LA's restaurant du jour that Friday night, having dinner with my art director/partner when the Brown's attorney, Gloria Allred, sent drinks to our table and invited us to join her and her girlfriend after dinner.

      The jury had reached their verdict, you'll recall, but because various parties had already left town for the weekend, the decision was made to hold off making the announcement until Monday.

      Now back in Downtown Chicago, I created the ad Monday morning, before I had even an inkling as to jury's decision.

      (Well, that's only halfway true. Ms. Allred, in a seemingly giddy, if not delirious state, somewhere between exhaustion and drunkenness ~ had assured me, merely three night's before, that the jury would "definitely" return a guilty verdict.)

      Two hours later, just past noon, I stood at Harry Caray's Restaurant with a hot, sticky shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, anxiously awaiting the end to our long national nightmare.

      The verdict was announced.

      There was a large collective gasp/groan as the crowd shuffled silently out the door, down the sidewalks, back to their places of business...

      And, believe it or not ~ life went on.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Honestly, and I'm sorry I didn't think of this while writing the post, but the reason this offends me is because it's ambulance chasing in the marketing industry. Sure, when a lawyer chases an ambulance, the result might be someone getting compensation for an injury. In the same way, this agency is making sure that they offer the use of their vehicles or donate money at disaster sites. But the same fact remains for both situations, neither the lawyer or the agency would be there if they didn't have something to gain from it.

      Honestly, it's the filming of the commercial that gets me. It's one thing if an automaker donates vehicles and money to aid disaster victims and its PR Director shows up with a camera to take pictures. That happens all the time. HUMMER does that with the Red Cross. But at most we see a press release and a picture or two. There's something about a commercial, specifically a commercial that uses these disasters like a backdrop on a sound stage, that irks me. I appreciate marketing folk who understand that by spreading good will, i.e. just giving vehicles and money where it's needed, is a better way to attract customers to your brand than this.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I understand how this offends you, and it is in bad taste for Land ROver to do this, I think it would have been a little better if they first thought of sending vehicals out to these disaters and taping them in action. I would accept that more. And in a commercial explain the disaster and happen to have a land Rover in it. Throwing in a place people can donate straight to Land Rover. That would make them look alot better.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Ad Baculam (appeal to threat/fear) is the nature of all advertisement.

        I could whine that the nutrisystem ad is exploiting my fear that I might be fat, or that Netflix is exploiting my fear of late fees and how dare AutoBlog associate with such exploiters. In the meantime, every car company advertises it's vehicles safety, does that mean they are exploiting peoples legitimate fear of auto accidents?

        Finally, if you found the advertisement detestable you probably did the wrong thing by getting lots of people to look at it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The difference is, the land rover is at the disaster site, being filmed for a commercial, when it could be used at the site to help people....
      • 8 Years Ago
      Tackey weasels.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Geez, you need to lighten up. If they starred disaster victims without compensation, you may start to question their taste. There is no difference between this and using disaster coverage to sell newspapers or TV advertising spots on the news, or magazines, or whatever.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Yep. Welcome to the victim culture, where people shout "how dare they?" with masturbatory glee.

        This is no different than the myriad ads which show beach volleyball in the background as a way of linking a car to a lifestyle. What, do those ads exploit beach volleyball players? Wait, wait, I know! All those Ford truck ads exploit construction workers, the poor dears!

        These ads hurt nobody, and it sounds like their filming was either neutral or beneficial. Getting outraged over this takes a willful disregard for reality.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Agreed.
        How exactly does this hurt anyone?
        • 8 Years Ago
        "There is no difference between this and using disaster coverage to sell newspapers or TV advertising spots on the news, or magazines, or whatever."

        But natural disasters are NEWS, so coverage of them isn't simply to sell ads. The ads will get bought regardless of what fills the space/time around them. In newspapers, they're purchased well before the day they run. So unless Macy's has a crystal ball, its ads could be next a story about a plane crash or a kid with cancer being reunited with a lost pet or some dull bit out of Congress.

        Having not seen these ads, maybe they're not as distasteful as they sound. But I kind of doubt it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If our president can exploit disasters for gain I'm going to have a hard time pulling a double standard on businesses.
        • 8 Years Ago
        But the president/governor/mayor have an obligation as public servants to see the suffering/destruction firsthand. If they don't, people think they're insensitive asses. [Which they might be anyway.]
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