Is Jaguar Losing Brand Focus with a Youthful Rebranding Campaign?

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Posted Mar 02, 2012
Susan Gunelius
jaguar logo new

This week, Jaguar launched a rebranding campaign with a new logo and a revamped brand image. In an attempt to modernize the brand and appeal to a younger demographic, Jaguar introduced some elements into its logo design that looks more 3-dimensional and introduces a chrome gradient effect (much to many designers' dismay). The rebranding effort will be incorporated into print, television, and digital advertising as well as into all branded products and experiences. This is the most significant change the company has made to the Jaguar logo in 40 years. The question is whether or not the effort will help the company reach its goals for the brand.

You can see the old and new logos side-by-side below.

jaguar logo

Jaguar's Strategy and Goals for Rebranding

Jaguar's rebranding and supporting marketing campaign are themed "ALIVE" and are intended to raise awareness of the British luxury brand to new consumers around the world in a contemporary context. Here are some snippets from Jaguar's press release announcing the rebranding to shed some light on the goals for the initiative:

"Jaguar is a brand for luxury consumers who are contemporary and open-minded, sophisticated and daring, with a desire for authentic, high technology, aesthetic, independent brands. Our product lineup combined with the ALIVE brand direction will define Jaguar in the modern era."

And some more from the press release:

"The campaign's primary message is this: Jaguar is ALIVE; it is a car not so much manufactured as created, and it is as alive as you are. Deliberately provocative, the campaign is designed to capitalize on the existing emotional pull of Jaguar's vehicles. It frames Jaguar as truly different from its competitors by positioning the brand as animate -- seductive, emotional, unique, energetic, and high-performance -- while asking consumers, "How alive are you?" The campaign targets luxury consumers who are contemporary, sophisticated and daring, with a desire for authentic, independent brands. It also appeals to a more youthful audience, while not alienating its current demographic."

The ads that will support the rebranding are intended to "spark curiosity and stir conversations." Check out the new Jaguar print ad below featuring a sonogram with a Jaguar logo in it. Is your curiosity sparked?

jaguar print ad

The marketing campaign featured a debut of the TV commercial on YouTube and Facebook (you can see it below) followed by its national and cable launch, and a "Drive the Jaguar Experience" road show will travel to 18 U.S. cities starting in April.

The Good and the Bad of the Jaguar Rebranding

It seems like a natural progression for a brand like Jaguar to want to attract a younger demographic of consumers who can become loyal, repeat buyers. Unfortunately, too many brands resort to the "modern" concept to try to connect with younger consumers rather than focusing on features and benefits that really matter to them. The "ALIVE" concept has merit, and I'm hopeful that the execution of that concept through marketing initiatives will improve. The sonogram ad leaves a lot to be desired.

apple logo

The modernized logo was a good attempt, but it falls short. It looks very Apple-logo-launch-circa-1998 rather than contemporary.

Furthermore, as you read through the Jaguar press release, a few points stand out. The press release continually uses terms like "modern," "younger," and "independent brands," but little in the new logo and ads conjures thoughts or feelings about any of those terms.It seems like the target, younger demographic will be left wondering, "So what?" will the loyal, existing Jaguar audience will be left wondering, "What are they doing to Jaguar?" There seems to be a disconnect and loss of brand focus for Jaguar, and that's a problem.

Will the Jaguar Rebranding Work?

Remember when Jaguar launched a more affordable car back in the 1990s? It's difficult for consumers to associate luxury with a brand that offers both high-priced, high-quality cars and affordable cars. The "entry-level" S-Type model helped sell more Jaguars, but keeping up with lower cost competitors wasn't something that the Jaguar brand promised. Similarly, the compact X-Type model that used a modified version of Ford's Contour platform, wasn't received well by loyal Jaguar customers. The New York Times rated the model one of the 50 worst cars of all time.

However, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and Jaguar still wants to crack the younger market. Will it work this time? Only time will tell if that sonogram ad can drive sales. What do you think?

Images: Jaguar, Apple

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