Dave Pinter: How Jaguar is Skillfully Targeting Design and Performance to Rebuild the Brand
Starting with the new F-Type, Jaguar has been using involvement in non-automotive events to promote its brand characteristics
Cats don’t really have nine lives as the saying goes, but the characteristic of felines being able to narrowly escape peril and survive is part of their mystique. Just a few years ago, many questioned whether the Jaguar brand had reached its ninth life after an unsuccessful marriage with Ford as part of the Premier Automotive Group (PAG). Cost cutting production initiatives including basing Jaguar cars off Ford platforms, a failed Formula One racing stint and never becoming profitable under Ford were all signs the brand was in trouble. Tata Motors of India purchased Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in March 2008 for £1.15 billion in a move to save the marques, but their long term survival was very unclear.
It wasn’t until the 2010 Paris Auto show which coincided with Jaguar’s 75th anniversary that a first hint of the brands’ rebirth took shape. With a fresh injection of cash from Tata, and Jag’s design guru Ian Callum overseeing a design staff anxious to make a new mark, the C-X75 concept not only was the surprise unveiling of the show, but quickly racked up a list of design awards. Four years later, there are still calls to get the car produced, but while a new supercar Jag hasn’t appeared yet, the C-X75 did foretell the look of a smaller sports car Jaguar had in mind to relaunch the brand, which we now know is the F-Type.
The E-Type sports car (included in the Petersen Museum ‘Worlds Greatest Sports Coupes’ exhibition in 2014) was the most iconic and arguably successful car Jaguar produced. A large collector market has grown around original and restored models from the 50’s and 60’s , even the Museum of Modern Art in New York owns one for the collection. A modern version of the E-Type is what the F-type needed to be. And rather than focus on a volume car or SUV to initially boost the sales side brand, Jaguar opted to focus on a niche vehicle that had a more exciting marketing story.
To build awareness for the brand and the new car, Jaguar debuted their first ever Superbowl commercial in 2014 featuring a cast of British cinema villains and the tag line ‘It’s Good To Be Bad’. The ad was a clever way to reintroduce Jaguar and sets the tone for the brand going forward.