By on February 20, 2020


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]

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18 Comments on “Adventures in Marketing: The Welcome Return of Body Damage...”

  • avatar

    “features extreme duty roof, front beams and undertray; roll cages; safety fuel cell. Non-production seats and belts, engine cooling, tyres and ride-height”

    *Vehicles modified to be Defenders instead of a Discovery in a retro costume. Please do not ever attempt SUV things in your SUV*

  • avatar

    This commercial sort of reminds me of the VW commercials, one in which the snowplow driver uses it to get to work; and one where the Bug is launched into a lake (IIRC)to show off how watertight it is. Also reminiscent of the Nascar “race on Sunday, win on Monday” line of thought by actually showing products in real use. Of course, as a friend once told me, if you “get air” in your 4 x 4 like in the commercials, the resulting damage to suspension components will ensure that you will NEVER do it again, LOL!! :-)

  • avatar

    They had a new defender at our auto show, it felt like a Daimler era Caravan, acres of hard plastic, deep floorboards, and lots of flimsy feeling parts.

    Perfect addition to the minivan family over at LR.

    • 0 avatar
      Greg Hamilton

      Doesn’t the new Defender use the same ZF nine-speed automatic as the Chrysler Pacifica? Minivan family indeed!

      • 0 avatar

        This may be the first and only time I find myself defending Land Rover, but the C3 Corvette and the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow used the same transmission too. Sharing components does not turn one thing into another thing.

  • avatar

    I used to like the Volvo being pushed off the parking garage face fist and then rolling away

  • avatar

    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 .


  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      “I highly doubt the Defender is a minivan“

      Unibody, independent suspension, the bones are not there to do anything with this vehicle, sorry if this is too complicated for you to understand. This is not an off-road vehicle and it will never be more capable than when it leaves factory, and as someone that has sat in one and looked under it – 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.

      • 0 avatar

        Pardon my ignorance but isn’t the HumVee also a unibody ? .

        I know it has independent suspension from looking at one up close .


        • 0 avatar

          No it’s not unibody, and it’s not a typical independent suspension either, using geared hubs and inboard brakes, the wheels are mounted with A arms that have much steeper angles than traditional setups – its the only civilian sold vehicle as such.

          One would think RR might try something similar with the Defender – no such luck.

        • 0 avatar

          Pretty sure the HMMWV uses an exoskeleton. :)

          Just kidding, it’s an aluminum body on a steel frame.

          Second picture here:

          • 0 avatar

            O.K. so it _IS_ a normal independent suspension albeit a _very_ heavy duty one ~ standard design unequal A-Arms .

            The inboard brakes are a nice touch as are the reduction gears .

            Good to hear it has a steel frame but, there are many smaller 4X4’s that use unibody and have no issues at all, they’re not carrying the same weight payloads as Hummers are .

            Not fair or honest comparing apples & oranges here .


          • 0 avatar

            Let me show you why this isn’t a normal IS


            This picture shows a truck that is running 46 inch tires without any visually detectable lift.

            A normal IS is incapable of this due to the angle it would put the CV axles, by making the power input off center from the wheel it allows the entire geometry of the suspension to change. This is inherit to portal hubs only. It’s why every typical IS lift is limited to 1-2 inches before parts begin blowing up.

            This is a complex and very expensive system, it’s a bch to keep everything working in harmony as any AM General or US military mechanic can tell you.

            It is a very apples to oranges comparison to this simplistic – generic suspension design LR has elected to use on the new defender. But remember I did not make this comparison.

            Frankly the number of civilian (read non outrageously expensive to operate) unibody off-road vehicle that have any historical data to support their use is limited, and vehicles such as the XJ which is always used as an example don’t have a successful track record over long term durability.
            And let’s not forget this new defender does not have the solid axles which even make the XJ worthwhile but rather a very limited use suspension design.

          • 0 avatar

            Another look, this is what made the Humvee what it is.


        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Don’t be fooled…Which Hummers are we talking about here? The H2 and H3 are an absolute joke. They are no better off-road than a basic Chevy Tahoe. Only a military spec H1 is worthwhile at all, but then you have a terrible on-road vehicle. This is why Jeep continues to dominate and Hummer disappeared.

          • 0 avatar

            Absolute joke, yet here you are defending this LR which has zero off-road chops? Take a hard look in the mirror fella.

            “ The H2 and H3 are an absolute joke. They are no better off-road than a basic Chevy Tahoe.”

            Despite neither sharing similarities, by stating they are no better you must really think Jeep is putting out some heavy duty crap since everything but the Wrangler couldn’t keep up with a base Tahoe 4×4.

      • 0 avatar

        “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.

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