McLaren launches first ever TV ad as it seeks to change brand image

McLaren is launching its first ever television ad as the car marque enters a new market segment by unveiling a range of sports cars, and seeks to take on “traditional” competitors including Audi and Porsche.

The pan-European campaign, which launches in the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland on 7 March and targets high net worth individuals, will run on TV for four weeks using Sky AdSmart. It will be supported by a partnership with Top Gear in the UK and Germany and by a digital campaign.

The imagery is based around “the journey of the car”, looking at how it is designed, manufactured, sold and driven.

Jon Pollock, MD Europe at McLaren, explained to Marketing Week: “We want to highlight that journey of the car being built and then the journey [customers] can take with the car. There is also a subtext to the ad, where we offer consumers a new product and choice in that segment of the market, which has been traditionally dominated by Audi and Porsche. So there is a game changing element as well.”

“As a brand, even though we’re well known in the UK, we’re not known for sports cars. We’re now in a new segment of the market and competing against manufacturers Porsche and Audi. So we want to create a far enhanced level of awareness and consideration.”

Innovation through TV

Pollock hopes the brand’s TV campaign will give it standout within the marketplace, as he argues “traditional players” don’t tend to use television as a medium.

“They’re much more established so they can work with their own database, but we’re looking to develop an almost 80% conquest mix. They will be more CRM-orientated, but this is much more focused on the top end of the funnel.

“Other car brands tend to take a more traditional approach when it comes to media, where they will use posters a lot. We want to do something more contemporary and innovative.”

To run the campaign, the brand will be using Sky Media’s TV advertising platform AdSmart. The advantage of AdSmart, he said, is the ability to target a very specific TV audience. McLaren will be focused on groups including small business owners, entrepreneurs and people earning more than £80,000 a year.

“We’re not a company like Ford. We don’t have thousands to spend on media to raise awareness, so the advantage of using Sky AdSmart is that it allows us to be very targeted and still achieve our awareness objectives.”

Chasing new audiences

McLaren is relatively new to the car market, having only been building and selling cars for four years. Before that, the brand was predominantly known for its Formula One team.

While the brand’s ‘Super’ and ‘Ultimate’ series are priced at £200,000 or more, its new range seeks to attract a wider audience.

“Our ‘Super’ series sell into a different sector of the market and customer base. But with this car, we have to widen our net in terms of gaining new customers and bring our brand to the attention of people who are perhaps not ‘Super’ car drivers but love sports cars,” he said.

The key measurement of the campaign’s success will be based around prospects and the footfall in its dealerships. It is currently hoping to deliver 1,500 new prospects and 2,200 test drives across Europe.

It is the first time the brand has launched an integrated campaign across multiple markets, and the brand is hoping to use its learnings on a global level.

He concluded: “It has one common consistency across all markets for the first time. We hope this is something we can grow and use globally in the near future.”

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