The world's press had seen the Discovery 3 at its unveiling in New York in April, and had been given the technical low-down during briefings in Paris over the summer. But Land Rover wanted to give the media a taste of what it was like to actually get behind the wheel. Objectives
To provide an environment for journalists to test the capabilities of the new Land Rover Discovery 3, both on and off-road. To fuel positive coverage of the car's performance in key media in each market. To increase sales of the model.
Strategy and Plan
Land Rover wanted an event that would encourage journalists from 800 international media outlets to test the capabilities of the Discovery 3 and see how it varied from the Land Rover 2.
The target audience for the car was slightly different in each market - ranging from mainly families in the UK, to 'cool' urban singles in the US.
A range of target media was therefore selected to match the potential consumer in each market - motoring titles and TV programmes, four-wheel-drive specialist magazines, national daily newspapers and lifestyle titles.
Journalists were invited to attend what was, roughly, a 24-hour event in Wick, northern Scotland, which included more than five hours of driving in rugged terrain specially chosen to test the vehicles. Journalists took the cars on a beach, around a loch, and even 300 metres down the middle of a river.
The event was repeated throughout a seven-week programme.
The in-house PR team chose to hold this event in Scotland to reflect the Discovery 3's breadth of capability, as well as make the most of the roads in the area. TV crews were invited separately to print media so their need to film the vehicles could be better catered for.
Measurement and Evaluation
Coverage has so far run in The Daily Telegraph, Italy's La Repubblica, US Auto Week, The Sun, the Daily Mirror, BBC Top Gear Magazine, What Car?, Car Magazine North America, What MPV and 4x4?, as well as Auto Motor und Sport, a TV channel in Germany.
Cuttings agency Prism evaluated the coverage in Europe, although the in-house team collected cuttings for other markets, including the UK. Land Rover states that many of the stories have remarked on how much better the Discovery 3 is than the previous model - a key goal of the PR campaign for the vehicle.
In the UK, the Discovery 3 is sold out until the end of February next year, and in most European markets the vehicle is almost completely sold out of current production.
The success of the Wick event is to be used as the Land Rover company benchmark for future media drive programmes because of the coverage achieved.
Freelance journalist Jurgen Pander, who wrote about the event for German GQ, says: 'The Discovery 3 for us is a lifestyle vehicle, and Land Rover is a special brand that fits the magazine's readers' profiles.
'What made it special for me was the two very long off-road trials. I go on launches for SUV vehicles a couple of times a year but I've never been on such rough and interesting natural terrain before. It was very impressive, and the improvements in the car (over the Discovery 2) really came through.'