Jaguar's C.J. O'Donnell: Changing ad agencies was a difficult choice.
The company's research -- and anemic sales -- showed consumers had trouble distinguishing the new version of the XJ from its predecessor.
So to launch the 2005 XJ long-wheelbase sedan, Jaguar marketers created a global advertising campaign called "Temptations - the Seven Sins."
C.J. O'Donnell, executive vice president of marketing and sales of Jaguar North America, says the campaign's intent "was to position Jaguar XJ as the eighth great temptation."
The campaign was good enough to be named a finalist in this year's Advertising Research Foundation award competition for excellence in advertising.
But it wasn't good enough to prevent Jaguar from firing the ad agency that crafted the campaign, Young & Rubicam of Irvine, Calif., in March.
Jaguar was "looking for a new position in the marketplace that would best be delivered by a new creative shop," O'Donnell says. "It was a difficult choice."
The XJ has a base price of $61,945, including destination. It is targeted at affluent consumers between the ages of 35 and 64. The theme of the "Temptations" campaign is: "Jaguar makes beautiful fast cars that are desired the world over."
The campaign depicts the seven deadly sins. Each sin represents an attribute of the XJ. Wrath, for example, is portrayed to suggest the fury of the XJ's 390-hp supercharged engine.
Jaguar customized each message in the "Temptations" campaign for placement in print media, on TV and online. The wrath ad appeared in automotive enthusiast magazines.
The campaign suggests the ultimate temptation is owning an XJ. Its tag line is: "Can you resist?"
Jaguar will run ads featuring the tag line through the summer. Jaguar's new ad agency, Euro RSCG/Fuel, is developing concepts arising from the campaign, O'Donnell says. Those ads "will break in the latter part of this year," he adds.
After stumbling for several years, sales are climbing for Jaguar's XJ line.
Jaguar is part of Ford Motor Co.'s Premier Automotive Group.
The aluminum-frame XJ, which debuted in late 2003, is moving up in the full-sized luxury sedan segment, O'Donnell says. Jaguar sold 10,552 XJs in the United States in 2004, up 4.5 percent from 2003. O'Donnell would not predict 2005 sales.
"The best news for 2004 was we increased XJ volume for the second year in a row," O'Donnell says. The XJ "will continue to play a prominent role in our communication emphasis."
Jaguar spends about $150 million a year to advertise in worldwide media.