CAMPAIGNS: Launching the new Rolls Royce - Product Launch

This year saw the launch of the first all-new Rolls-Royce in 18 years.

This year saw the launch of the first all-new Rolls-Royce in 18


The Silver Seraph maintains the values of the Rolls-Royce marque - the

high quality and unparalleled luxury - but updates the car with

state-of-the-art technology.

While this story would obviously be of interest to the motoring press,

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars wanted to make the event something to be talked

about, and get the Silver Seraph seen in media which wouldn’t normally

feature Rolls-Royces.

Countrywide Porter Novelli works alongside the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

in-house team, using its knowledge of the lifestyle media.


To position the Silver Seraph as the ’Rolls-Royce of motor cars’, and

create a launch programme targeting the long-lead lifestyle media.


While there is quite a difference between those who are interested in

Rolls-Royces and those who actually buy them, it was decided that these

audiences shouldn’t be split when devising this campaign.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ specific objective for the media relations

campaign was to build ’permission to admire’ among the general public

and ’permission to buy’, among potential Silver Seraph owners.

The problem facing the PR team was that media coverage was completely

embargoed until the launch date of 26 February 1998 - this embargo could

not be broken by one day, even in the long-lead publications.

Without being able to give away too much information to editors, it was

necessary to get commitment to running the story. As the plan was to

build media partnerships and give exclusives to magazines in each

sector, a guarantee to run to the story was needed.

Working for several months with publications such as Esquire and Country

Life, the PR team developed angles specifically to meet their readers

needs - Red, for example, used a ’women drivers’ angle, with a piece

entitled ’My Other Car’s a Mini’.

A week-long media event was held in Ackergill Tower, near John O’Groats

in Scotland, to minimise the chances of the new car being seen before

the release day, except by targeted journalists who were allowed time

alone with the Silver Seraph and also had the opportunity to test drive


A short-lead press event was held by the Rolls-Royce in-house team in

Crewe, to unveil the car to the world’s media. It has also conducted

further PR activity to ensure ongoing coverage, such as motor shows and

test driving.


The media partnerships with the long-lead lifestyle media came to

fruition in the form of five positive, in-depth editorial features in

target publications, including Tatler and High Life, which ran a

Rolls-Royce retrospective and profiled typical owners. The specific

media goals were seen to have been achieved, with the new Rolls-Royce

appearing in environments and publications with which it had not

previously been associated. The in-house team’s short-lead launch

attracted a huge amount of coverage throughout the global media. In the

UK, it was featured extensively on programmes such as the Today

programme and ITV news.


This campaign achieved strong results for Rolls-Royce. Undoubtedly much

of this can be attributed to the detailed research and long-term

planning which went into the campaign. Good contacts with the media,

both from Countrywide and the in-house team, were exploited to maximum


Client: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Campaign: Long-lead launch of the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph

PR Team: Countrywide Porter Novelli and in-house

Timescale: September 1997 to March 1998 and ongoing

Budget: Undisclosed

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