NEW YORK - Jaguar has enlisted the help of filmmaker Spike Lee to attract black and Hispanic buyers to the marque in the USA.
Lee, who has directed various films on black life, will produce advertising for Jaguar as it tries to meet ambitious sales goals.
'We are attempting to basically double our (US and worldwide) volume with the S-type,' said Mike O'Driscoll, executive vice president of Jaguar North America, 'and with the X400 next year to double it again.
'To do that, we need to appeal to a broader, younger and more diverse audience - something we have not had to do in the past.' He spoke at Jaguar's press conference at last month's New York auto show.
Jaguar reported record US sales of 35,039 in 1999. Its recent low point was 8,681 in 1992. Jaguar plans to launch its X400 model, which is aimed at the BMW 3 series and the Mercedes C-class, in mid-2001.
In his first project for Jaguar, Lee and his firm, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks Inc., produced an eight-minute movie-like commercial internally called 'The Harlem to Martha's Vineyard Special.'
A four-minute version is available for viewing on Jaguar's website at www.jaguar.com/us/spikelee. Visitors can get the long version on videotape mailed to them free by registering at the site.
Lee also produced 30- and 60-second television spots that will appear across the USA in the next five to seven weeks.
The movie-commercial stars Lee's wife, Tanya Lee, and features the couple's house on Martha's Vineyard.
Martha's Vineyard is an island in Massachusetts known for its association with former US President John F. Kennedy and his family.
The short film shows a wealthy black female surgeon at Harlem Hospital in New York. Her husband is a sculptor. After a busy day of operating, the wife calls the husband and tells him to pick her up at the hospital. She tells the camera how great it is to be married to a man who does not feel threatened by her success.
'I'm not only his wife, I'm his patron,' she says. 'Who knows? Maybe one day he'll actually sell one of those sculptures.' The characters joke about her letting him drive the Jaguar.
Simon Sproule, vice president of public affairs for Jaguar Cars North America, said the campaign will include print buys in US magazines such as Essence, Black Enterprise and African Americans on Wheels.
Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide remains Jaguar's advertising agency of record, but Lee has a 'long-term' contract, O'Driscoll said.
Kristin Paulus, partner and management supervisor for OgilvyOne Worldwide in New York, said Lee's company is not taking away from her agency's work and that Ogilvy will work with 40 Acres and a Mule on future projects.