Adventures in Marketing: The Welcome Return of Body Damage

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Automakers go to great pains to show off their vehicles in the best possible light. Via the deft touch of their respective marketing teams, ordinary machines suddenly grow the ability to do the impossible: getting the hopelessly nerdy guy his dream girl, soothing inconsolable babies, and performing feats of strength that would leave even Frank aghast.

In official pictures and film, the worst fate to befall a vehicle is normally an artistic splattering of mud around the wheel wells. Perfection is always a car wash away.

Not so in the “ad” just released by Jaguar Land Rover, which piggybacks on the exploits of a filmmaking team and gives them all the marketing support they ask for in return. Despite JLR using a Bond movie to its benefit, it’s good to see a vehicle being put to its full potential in a commercial — and sustaining damage in the process. It harkens back to those old Volvo ads of yore, in which abuse factors heavily.

Titled “Unstoppable,” the Land Rover Defender spot features the filming of scenes from the upcoming flick No Time to Die, the plot of which surrounds Bond’s post-spy career as a salesman struggling to make ends meet in the highly competitive SUV market.

I think.

The takeaway from this torture-a-thon is that the returning Defender can impact the ground at an alarming nose-down angle and drive away without catastrophic damage to its linkages. None that we can see, anyway. Are these Defenders completely stock, you ask? Of course not. As the fine print on a related website states, “Vehicles modified for stunt work: Defender features extreme duty roof, front beams and undertray; roll cages; safety fuel cell. Non-production seats and belts, engine cooling, tyres and ride-height.” I’d like to hear more about the ride height modifications.

The finale of the clip shows the model performing a half barrel roll, impacting on its hood and roof and coming to rest upright, front fender and hood crumpled. It then drives off, front passenger-side tire rubbing the now-exposed wheel well liner. Your real-world experience will, of course, vary.

Anyway, it’s great stuff for viewers who demand a visceral demonstration of what their life could look like in an OEM’s latest ride. Great, as well, because vehicle marketing is so often tame with a capital “T.” No puppies, kids, friends, or spouse in sight here.

Yes, JLR wouldn’t be putting a Defender through these kinds of paces were it not for the movie, but product placement in a film can be even better than a marketing campaign — assuming the movie isn’t a box office turkey. Think of the Dodge Ram extended cab in Twister or the unbelievable torture test endured by the (apparently stock) Ford pickup in the Charles Bronson flick Mr. Majestyk. Ford made hay out of that appearance, and it wasn’t even a new model!

As stated before, the JLR spot is a more entertaining and cinematic take on those old Volvo commercials, which started off with angry drivers beating the shit out of their Amazons and ended with stately 760s launching off the roof of buildings. Overseas, customers were treated to a dance, and a very Eurocentric one at that.

Other automakers should think about breaking free from the mold, leaving picture-perfect locales, pristine paintwork, and CGI behind.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover/YouTube]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
12 of 18 comments
  • -Nate -Nate on Feb 20, 2020

    Amazingly, y son actually drives his 4X4 like this on a regular basis and cracks the frame and breaks springs and so on.... Looks like I'll go see this movie, I hope it's any good . -Nate

  • Conundrum Conundrum on Feb 20, 2020

    Nope. A leap of the imagination too far. I highly doubt the Defender is a minivan, despite Hummer's derision for anything but blacksmith technology. You might not have noticed, but the Defender is longitudinal engine not transverse where the ZF 9 speeder is used, not only in Chryslers, but also Acura TLX, Acura MDX and the Odyssey.

    • See 9 previous
    • Theshed Theshed on Oct 13, 2020

      @Hummer "it’s not going 10% of the places a stock wrangler will go. Off-roading requires a very straight forward setup. Only in your imagination can this ever be considered a capable off-road vehicle." You must be joking, Right ? The wrangler has the advantage of ground clearance and probably suspension travel but put it in real rough stuff. Mud, hills, sand the Defender will be towing it home. Agreed, this new Defender has far to much electrickery but these days that is what you get and it will get you where you need to be.

  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.
  • El scotto BAH! No dividers in the trunk for bags of onions or hooks for hanging sardines! Hard Pass.