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From Camel Man to Desperate Housewife?

As a “Land Rover Enthusiast” I recently got an invite to something about the reveal of the new Range Rover Evoque Convertible. Whilst I felt most flattered, they clearly don’t know me very well because I am not in the league of Range Rover prices – but the efficiencies of direct marketing is another topic for another day.

What really got me going was the concept of a convertible – how far the Land Rover brand has stretched and how much the brand form and imagery has changed. When I used to think of Land Rover, I thought of the Camel Man and Kingsley Holgate – I saw images of a tough, rugged, mans-man at the wheel of an equally tough looking Defender. But what was once the icon of the ‘go-any-where’ spirited brand has now been dumped, as has the more affordable entry level Freelander.

From-Camel-Man-to-Desperate-HousewifeNow, with the new Discovery, the Discovery Sport and the idea of a new Evoke Convertible, Land Rover has (in my mind) moved from the territory of ‘Mans-man’ to a far younger, way sexier, ‘Desperate Housewife’.Would I buy (had I the money) an Evoque Convertible? No, Never. Not because I don’t want to be seen as a ‘Desperate Housewife’, but in truth, for me any car, SUV or MPV that I can’t put roof racks onto is useless. However, my wife would absolutely love to have one.

The question here is not whether my wife is a ‘Desperate Housewife’ or not, but rather how far can a brand stretch before its core essence is From-Camel-Man-to-Desperate-Housewife-2lost? Will the new marques under the Land Rover badge dent the brand equity or damage sales? Time will tell and the answer will most likely be no; the world is changing and Land Rover is changing with it. Sure, there will always be the ‘purists’ who believe that a brand should remain true to its essence, but time changes almost everything. Think of Porsche – what once was only ever going to be a 2-door high performance sports car for well-heeled boy racers is today also very comfortably; a (very comfortable) high performance SUV; loved I would guess, by many ‘Desperate Housewives.’

Sports-and-Sponsorship-1Time changes almost everything and everyone, but for now I still need a vehicle that is somewhat more affordable and one that can take roof racks, so I am not about to convert and didn’t attend reveal. Sadly, I feel that the new breed of Land Rover may have moved beyond me, and I would hazard a guess that, were he still alive, the ‘Camel Man’ might feel the same.

Clive Evans

The Strategy Department

At The Strategy Department we develop clear strategies that give brands a strong foundation on which to grow. With our combined experience across multiple industries and channels, we build strategies that deliver measurable results.

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