James Bond can ski off a cliff with a Union Jack parachute and talk his way out from under an unfortunately aimed laser beam. But he can't lead the branding efforts of Aston Martin's decadelong transformation on his own.
So the British automaker is turning to something it has rarely done in its 104-year history: marketing. TV advertising, experiential events, brand ambassadors and Formula One sponsorship are all on tap to introduce or reintroduce the world's wealthiest car buyers to an Aston Martin they might not be familiar with.
"We are, for many customers, waking people back up to the fact that Aston Martin has new cars, fresh products, new technology," Simon Sproule, Aston Martin's global chief marketing officer, told Automotive News. "People have heard of us, but we have a little bit of a job to do to explain who we are and what we stand for."
That's because Aston isn't what it was. The once low-volume builder of just a few grand touring models is turning itself into a high-end purveyor of gas, electric and hybrid supercars, hypercars, sports cars, grand tourers, sedans and even an SUV.
Dubbed the Second Century Plan by Aston CEO Andy Palmer, the strategy will involve Aston redesigning four models and adding seven new ones by 2022, pushing sales volumes as high as 14,000 annually, up from 3,500 in 2016.
The plan also will shorten the life cycles of each vehicle generation. What was a nine- to 10-year period of turnover will be reduced to six or seven years, meaning Aston will average one new product introduction (including convertible and engine variants) every four months for the next seven years.