Land Rover North America Inc. will drive on new terrain in January as it makes its first appearance as a Super Bowl advertiser, according to Advertising Age, a sister publication of Automotive News.
Buying a 30-second spot on the big game is a big deal for the niche sport-utility marketer, which spends about $45 million annually in measured media and has not advertised on national TV in six months.
Fox is asking a record average of $1.6 million for a 30-second spot for its Super Bowl XXXIII broadcast. Others shelling out the dough include American Honda Motor Co. Inc. and Volvo's North American truck unit.
The Land Rover commercial, being produced this week by Grace & Rothschild of New York, will mark the introduction of the 1999 Discovery, its first completely redesigned vehicle since the Range Rover debuted in 1995.
'The Discovery II is a very important launch for us, and we couldn't think of a better way to introduce it,' said Kim McCullough, model manager for the vehicle.
She declined to provide details of the commercial. But the ad will spotlight Discovery's base price of $34,775. That should combat what she said was consumer perception that Land Rover's vehicles are pricier than they really are.
The brand will target a broader audience by playing down Land Rover's off-road heritage in favor of a more humorous, family-oriented approach, said Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, account managing director at Grace & Rothschild.
The high-end importer sold 19,072 units through November, off 10.5 percent from the same period a year ago. But Land Rover, which sold about 3,000 Defenders last year, does not have that model this year. Discovery is the best seller, accounting for 12,894 of the total.
J.D. Power and Associates reported in September that owners ranked Discovery as the most appealing compact sport-utility.
Land Rover hopes to sell more than 20,000 of the new Discovery sport-utes next year, McCullough said. For visibility, its media schedule for the first half of 1999 will be heavy on national TV.
The car marketer's 1999 ad budget will be slightly higher than this year, she added. The brand spent $23.8 million in measured media during the first nine months of 1998, down 32 percent from the same period a year ago, according to Competitive Media Reporting.