In 2019, Irish automakers were facing a challenging time. As consumers slowed their spending whilst waiting to see what effect Brexit would have, auto sales dropped 4.3% from the previous year. For premium brands like Land Rover, the landscape was particularly challenging: Hesitant to make big purchases, auto sales belonged primarily to value brands.
As a reliable source of information and trusted brand among consumers, The Irish Times became a logical vehicle for Land Rover to reposition its messaging and drive prospects into the showroom. The key was to utilise creative content that would resonate with an Irish audience.
Mapping out a new approach
The Irish Times Content Studio team created the Everyday Adventure campaign, which was deployed across all the company’s assets, including the Irish Examiner and its breaking news and social channels. The campaign featured five well-known Irish celebrities who became “brand ambassadors” for Land Rover. Each told their unique story about their “everyday adventures,” which incorporated the Land Rover model in a more subtle approach than would be done in traditional advertising.
The video stories were then repurposed into double-page print spreads that appeared in the Saturday magazines and promoted on Land Rover’s social channels.
Each video required a half-day shoot in a location that was special to the ambassador. The series’ host interviewed each ambassador to create a story that was rich in local narration and gave viewers an interesting new perspective of each ambassador’s favourite spot. The content was designed to engage the audience but was clearly labeled as sponsored content to ensure complete transparency for the Irish Times.
“Our Everyday Adventures content partnership with The Irish Times was an ideal platform to create brand awareness while showcasing Land Rover product in an engaging way,” said Melanie McCourt, Land Rover marketing manager. “Leveraging our existing relationships with brand ambassadors, we presented the brand in a locally relevant context.”
That local connection resonated in a larger scale than expected. Audience interest in the campaign far exceeded the expectations of both the client and the Irish Times Content Studio. On social channels, the campaign reached 293,103 people with 319,138 views. Combined article reads were 102,719 and video views across all channels reached 129,931.
Additionally, The Irish Times reached an additional 4,000 listeners with its branded The Irish Times Added Time Podcast.
While the campaign attracted ears and eyes, the overall goal was, of course, to attract revenue as well. The two key metrics that Land Rover wanted to measure were consideration and advocacy — and the campaign successfully moved the needle on both. Based on pre- and post-campaign research conducted with a readers panel, The Irish Times found that consideration to buy a Land Rover jumped 250%, whilst the readers’ willingness to recommend the Land Rover brand to others increased 165%.
Perhaps most significant, however, was that even though the market was declining, Land Rover overcame the market instability that accompanied Brexit and was able to register a 4% increase in sales over the previous year.
“This delivered a new audience for Land Rover and culminated in a showroom event which successfully connected readers with the brand,” McCourt said.