CREATIVE STRATEGY: A sense of humour ... success, by Land Rover

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Land Rover ad: humour based on fundamental truths
Land Rover ad: humour based on fundamental truths

Humour has to be one of advertising's most potent weapons. We could all do with a laff. And when brands bring us a smile, we're prepared to spend more time in their company and grow to like them.

So it surprises me that it is not used more often. GSOH gets us every time.

To date, Land Rover is a not a brand you would associate with belly laughs. Certainly, in my time with the oval green badge (as a copywriter then joint creative director at Craik Jones), humour was not a big part of the brand personality.  

Imagery tended to celebrate the legendary toughness of the vehicles. While in copy, an occasional outburst of laconic, dry wit was the order of the day.  

That has changed, as you can see here:  

Describing the commercial does it no justice, but we’re in the States; and a Frenchman is walking along with his American girlfriend. Suddenly, he cuts the conversation short and jumps into a Land Rover parked round the corner.

From the safety of the vehicle he confesses that he is a pathological liar and that everything he’s told her (including his Gallic origins) is 100% bullshit. It is a lesson in comedy writing so sharp you might cut yourself.  

Three things strike me about this commercial. First, it identifies a fundamental truth about the product. Inside a Land Rover, you feel safe. In fact, you feel invulnerable. This is true for me even when I’m a passenger in my brother’s Range Rover as he tears around the dodgy back streets of Manchester.  

Safety gives you freedom. In the "Liar" commercial it’s the freedom to face the potential wrath of a wronged partner. But in Land Rover land, it might just as well be the freedom to explore those places on the planet where the road runs out. This suggests that while the commercial is a great one-off, the idea has depth and breadth.

Finally, it is refreshing to see a US ad for a global brand that has a grin as big and powerful as the Land Rover itself.


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