In 1972, Jaguar didn’t need to convince buyers of the XJ6’s virtues, but their BLMC masters had other ideas.
Marketing a car like the Jaguar XJ6 shouldn’t have been the most onerous of tasks. Demand for the car was enormous and the biggest problem facing prospective customers was getting hold of one. To some extent, Jaguar dealers were essentially order-takers and fulfilment houses. So while the rationale behind this print ad from the spring of 1972 appears somewhat ill-wrought, it isn’t as confused as the execution itself.
The image shows a gentleman, clearly of means, walking disconsolately away from the Jaguar, which we assume he has just test driven at his (quite immodest) home. The ad-copy makes much of how the XJ6 will spoil you for any other car, yet the prospective customer’s expression speaks more of perplexity than regret, suggesting a degree of ambivalence perhaps?
Has he driven the car, liked it, only to be told he’ll have to wait over a year for delivery? Or has he driven the car, been unimpressed, and is now wondering how he’s going to stretch to that Mercedes S-Class he’s been hearing so much about? And why does the gentleman in the background (the sales representative we assume) appear to be pushing the car? Did it (the thought is almost too terrible to contemplate) ‘fail to proceed’?
Either way, not only does the ad-execution not work, it suggests an element of desperation on the carmaker’s part – a somewhat self-defeating strategy for a car in huge demand. Of course by 1972, BLMC had taken control of Jaguar’s sales and marketing functions and perhaps what this advertisement illustrates above all is the BLMC marketers’ failure to understand, not only the Jaguar brand, but the luxury car market itself.
Later that year, a crippling strike – the longest in Jaguar’s history – crippled production for nearly four months, making this advertisement not only an exercise in disappointment, but even more so, in futility.