At the outset, I admit to being an Anglophile, specifically a Londonphile. This malady infected me on my first trip to the United Kingdom many years ago - bonny Prince Charles was barely out of his nappies at the time - and has raged ever since.
Despite my admiration for the United Kingdom and its people, the Brits win hands down when it comes to snobbery. They are the very, very best at looking down upon people, places and things.
And then there's the time-honored snobbery associated with motorcars. After all, such elite brands as Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Jaguar share a British heritage.
Combine the Brits' snobbish attitude with the pride and vanity of owning an expensive motorcar, add a touch of irony with a dash of double-edged humor and what do you get? A new commercial from an American agency (with some British heritage) for a British luxury car that's going to appeal to the snobbish motorcar Anglophiles from coast to coast and perhaps around the world.
It's the new Jaguar (in Britspeak, 'JAG-you-are') commercial by Ogilvy and Mather.
It establishes an on-target advertising attitude that seems just right for Jaguar. It made me giggle. It made me laugh. It wants to make me try the car. And that's what a commercial is supposed to do, right?
The commercial opens with a wide shot of an impressive building with a staff of uniformed parking attendants standing at the ready. Swells in tuxedos and gowns are seen walking to the building. For the past year, tuxedos and gowns have meant that it's going to be a sport-utility spot with drivers climbing mountains or saving animals - but not this time.
A silver Jag pulls into the shot. A parking lackey springs to attention and opens the passenger door for an attractive blonde dressed in red. Her nose is up in the air. The lackey frowns at the sight.
In the next shot, the tuxedo-clad driver exits from his side of the car with the same facial expression, attitude and language. His nose seems to be trying to smell the fumes from a jet passing overhead. This would seem to be the ultimate in British snobbery.
The lackey casts an exasperated look at another attendant and shakes his head. He gets into the Jag. Cut to an extreme close-up of the new driver's foot on the accelerator. (Note to production wardrobe: Not many car parkers here or there can afford bench-made, cap-toe, monk-strap shoes.)
The tachometer hits the redline. The driver's head snaps back. The car is parked. The driver exits. Why, he too now is walking with his nose in the air.
Purposefully he strides back to join his mates at the car-park desk. Several attendants stand at the ready for the next car in the typical parking-attendant posture, with the 'How much is he going to tip?' expression.
Our lackey still has his nose in the air. The voiceover intones: 'The unexpected XJ8.' Superimpose the Jaguar logo. Fade to black.
It is a very good commercial. It has double-edged British humor that sells both the snob appeal and the head-snapping appeal of a powerful automobile with great acceleration.
Hope it was as much fun to produce as it was for me to watch. I watched it several times, too - the true test of a funny commercial.
Wonder how many people only noticed the power feature, not the snob factor, the first time they saw it? Or vice versa.
No matter. Americans, I predict, are going to like the commercial and want to look at the latest luxury import from Great Britain.
One last Brit bit: Was the car in the commercial right-hand drive or left-hand drive?