Diana T. Kurylko
Diana T. Kurylko
BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, Subaru Reporter

Jaguar, aided by 3 villains, ready to challenge

More than 11 million people have watched the Jaguar commercial on YouTube.
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Americans like puppies, Bob Dylan and even angel wings, as shown by the response to this year's Super Bowl commercials.

But they also like villains -- so much that Jaguar has decided to post a two-minute director's cut of the 60-second "Rendezvous" commercial it aired during the Super Bowl.

The commercial for the new F-Type coupe stars three British actors portraying bad boys on film -- Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong and Tom Hiddleston -- and was directed by Academy Award-winner Tom Hooper.

More than 11 million people have watched the Jaguar commercial on YouTube. In comparison, Budweiser's "Puppy Love" spot has been viewed 46.7 million times, Volkswagen's "Wings" has been watched 17.3 million times and Chrysler's commercial with Bob Dylan has 11.1 million hits.

Those numbers mean that Jaguar, the small luxury car brand with 2013 U.S. sales of 16,952 cars, struck a chord, says Jeff Curry, vice president of the Jaguar brand.

"It exceeded all of our expectations by a huge margin," Curry said. "That is what you hope for but to see it realized reflects that we are absolutely a brand on the move."

Jaguar wanted the commercial to create buzz.

"It wasn't just about creating an ad -- it was about establishing a long-term challenger brand position," Curry said.

"We did not want to have a gimmick -- no dog or baby or horse. This spot could only be Jaguar and British villains. There is another way to think about it -- a gut laugh based on a cultural truth," said Curry, challenging doubters to do a Google search of top movie villains and count how many are Brits.

Jaguar decided to do its first Super Bowl commercial because it wants to be recognized as a "long-term challenge brand," Curry said.

The F-Type coupe, a low-volume, two-door with sexy styling, goes on sale in April.

It is based on the F-Type convertible that was met with rave reviews when it went on sale last year. Jaguar sold 2,250 F-Type convertibles last year. The car went on sale in May.

"We are entering the next stage of our product portfolio growth and launching the first Jaguar sports car in 40 years," Curry said. "The F-Type is a signpost of where we are going for the entire brand."

Equally important are future products, starting with a compact sedan that uses Jaguar's new all-aluminum architecture, Curry said.

The car will go on sale in the United States in 2016 and the platform will spawn other models.

"It is important that you put your brand in front of your customer, and in building that awareness and people understanding that our brand is a challenge to the status quo in the luxury market," Curry said.

So how was the Super Bowl spot perceived?

According to Jaguar, the commercial ranked 10th of 57 game advertisers for effectiveness and the third-highest among automotive commercials by Ace Metrix, which tracks and analyzes online video and TV advertising.

NFL.com viewers ranked it No. 1. Advertising Age, an affiliate of Automotive News, said it was the 10th most viral Super Bowl video.

The jaguarusa.com Web site attracted 92,170 unique visitors on Super Bowl Sunday compared with a daily average of 22,200, according to Jaguar. AutoTrader said search activity for the F-Type jumped 1,460 percent after the spot ran compared with an hour before the game and Jaguar searches were up 208 percent. Those are just a few of the statistics that Jaguar has provided.

It's too early to tell how all this will translate into sales, but most of the automotive shopping Web sites say Jaguar searches are up and dealers report increased traffic, Curry said.

So how does Jaguar continue to capitalize on the spot?

On Friday, Curry said, Jaguar will start expanding the "British Villains" and challenger theme nationwide as part of a multimedia sales and marketing campaign to include online ads, outdoor banners, newspaper ads, digital media support and dealership events.

The director's cut

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter

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