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
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
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
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