20 Jan 2014

What Jaguar Can Teach Other Car Manufacturers About Marketing - The F-Type: My Turn

“The Ultimate Driving Machine”, “The car you always promised yourself”, “Just like a Golf”. These are all advertising slogans, created to try and convince you to buy a certain make or model of car. But what about Jaguar’s most recent strapline used in their latest F-Type advertising campaign; “Your turn”? 

What do they actually mean by this? One of their most recent TV ads shows an F-Type speeding past a never-ending queue of people. When the car eventually comes to a halt, the chap behind the wheel hops out, throws the keys to the person at the front of the queue and says ‘Your turn”.

It’s as if Jaguar are just offering people joy rides instead of trying for the hard sell. This can’t be what they really mean though, surely? Well, as it turns out, this is exactly what they mean.

I, like may others, often fill out those ‘keep me informed’ or ‘register interest’ sections of a manufacturers website, when swooning over their latest offering. As a general rule, I normally hear nothing more about it, apart from the odd email. Although occasionally I will get some telemarketing type person ring me up and try to take my credit card details for a deposit or enquire about what my cat had for breakfast and when I plan on changing my car.

When I say, “keep me informed”, I mean just that. I’m not saying I want to buy this car, I’m just interested in it. In the case of the F-Type, when I entered my details on Jaguar’s website, I didn’t have the slightest inclination to purchase one. Not because I didn’t want to, but because there was no way I could afford one. Nonetheless, I filled out the form and waited. And waited. No confirmation email, no phone call, no nothing. Not for a month or so anyway.

Meanwhile, planning and organising a wedding, as I’m sure many of you can testify, is one of the most stressful and time consuming things you can ever do. Short of moving house, having a baby and indeed getting divorced, it’s right up there on the list of stuff that takes over your life for a period of time. So when, a very polite gentleman called from Jaguar one weekday evening, just a month before our wedding day, I wasn’t really in the right frame of mind to deal with a telemarketer. However, it turned it out he wasn’t trying to sell me anything or ask me any questions, but to offer me what he called ‘an enhanced test drive’ in an F-Type. This obviously caught my attention and instantly distracted me from all things wedding-like. I wasn’t entirely sure what an enhanced test drive was mind you, but it sounded pretty enticing. Would I like my details to be passed on to my local dealer he asked? “Of course” I replied.

The next day the dealer called me. “Hello Mr Small, we understand you are interested in buying an F-Type.” Alarm bells rang immediately. Under normal circumstances I would have just gone a long with this, but with so many other things on my mind, I couldn’t be bothered. I explained that I wasn’t interested in buying one and that I had been offered an ‘enhanced test drive’ by their Head Office. The salesman sounded a little disheartened, but still asked when I would be able to come in. Now as I say, at the time I was a bit stressed with all things nuptial. I looked at my diary and realised that I didn’t have a free weekend for at least two months. A snap decision led me to tell the salesman not to worry and to forget the whole thing. I apologised for any confusion caused and left it at that.

One wedding and honeymoon later and I’m back at work, as if nothing had ever happened. I then received a couple of voice mail messages from the local Jaguar dealer asking me to call them back. I was tempted, but I didn’t. Then a couple days later I get a call one evening from Jag HQ, querying why I had not yet taken them up on their offer. I was blunt; possibly rude. I explained that I couldn’t afford an F-Type. Nor was I likely to be able to afford one in the near future and that I was merely an enthusiast. To my surprise “that’s neither here nor there” came the response. The chap went on to explain that this was all about getting the car ‘out there’. Getting it seen, getting it talked about and getting it spread across social media. There was no catch. Take the car, use it, do what you want with it. That’s it. It goes without saying that only an idiot would turn down an offer like that.

Off the back of this, I phoned the dealer the next day and made my appointment for the following Saturday. I was told I could pick the car up at 9am and just had to get it back before they closed at five. When the day came, a photocopy was taken of my drivers licence and I was casually chucked the keys for a V6S F-type. I stuck some fuel in it, put the roof down and set off for the coast. I’m not sure how many miles I put on it that day, but it was quite a few. On returning the car (nearly eight hours later), I had a brief, completely unrelated chat, with one of the salesman about American muscle cars, Golf GTis and Porsche Boxsters. I then returned the keys, casually mentioned that I was quite impressed and came home. That was it. No follow ups, no telemarketers, no hassle. Just a day in the car that I have coveted since the concept was unveiled.

I tweeted about it, posted pictures on Facebook, told friends, family and colleagues and now I am writing this piece about it. In essence, I am doing Jaguar’s advertising for them. All they did, was give me a car for the day. I have done the rest. And that Ladies and Gentlemen, is very smart marketing indeed. It’s a great approach and one that should be applauded. They know that the best way to really market a car is to get people talking about it. By offering it, essentially to anyone, that is exactly what is going to happen. Simple.

Oh the car… I suppose I should probably mention what it was like. Especially since I previously wrote a piece about how much it had to live up to.

Well, let’s be honest, it’s been reviewed to death hasn’t it? We’ve all read about the handling, the performance, the noise and the tiny boot. So I’ll just say this. If you’re the kind of person who likes a well mannered sports car, with impeccable handling, more thrust than you could ever need and a soundtrack from the Gods; what ever your expectations are, it will exceed them all. In every single way. Apart from the boot.

By Chris Small