On April 19, eleven days before World Land Rover Day, Jaguar Land Rover created a tsunami with the ill-timed, ill-crafted announcement of its “House of Brands” marketing campaign. The UK’s Daily Mail headline read, “Range Rover, Defender and Discovery to ditch the 75-year-old official ‘Land Rover’ name.”
AM Online [UK] quoted one JLR retailer, “I’m utterly flabbergasted! For decades JLR has had some quite significant and well-reported issues and the power of the brand has absolutely been its major strength. Sideline the Land Rover brand and you’re turning your back on the strongest element of the business, a global powerhouse of a brand. You have to question the intelligence behind that.”

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Or, as John Kostuch of The Centre Steer podcast wrote, “What a way to celebrate the seventy-five years… ditch the name that ‘brung ya.’“
Within a day, Carmel Digweed, Land Rover Earned PR Manager [yes, that’s her title in her press release -ed.] issued a statement to be used, “if you are approached by media for comment.”

“As a House of Brands, Range Rover, Defender, Discovery and Jaguar now step forward as individual marques, projecting their individual purpose, desirability, and personality. Under this approach, we will amplify the unique character of each of the brands, accelerating the delivery of our vision to be the Proud Creators of Modern Luxury.”

Quoting JLR’s Gerry McGovern, the new “House of Brands” strategy, “would serve to elevate and amplify the uniqueness of our characterful British marques. Our ultimate ambition is to build truly emotionally engaging experiences for our clients that, over time, will build long-term high equity for our brands and long-term sustainability for JLR. We are not losing the Land Rover name; its spirit is – and will continue to be – a crucial part of our DNA.”

Except it’s no longer mentioned. Land Rover becomes a “trustmark,” a term only e-commerce enthusiasts could love. One dictionary defined it as, “Any emblem, seal, symbol or icon intended to quickly establish trust with prospective customers of other audiences online.”

Kind of like the Land Rover Green Oval did, right? “Emotionally engaging experiences for clients” – check. “Long-term high equity” – check. “Long-term sustainability” – check – successful for 75 years.

The late, unlamented British Leyland dumped decades-old marque names in favor of “Leyland Cars;” we know how that went.

Here’s hoping the “House of Brands” doesn’t become a “House of Cards.”

Jeffrey Aronson
Editor, Rovers Magazine

Introduction – Summer 2023