Land Rover Defender relaunch taps into music for lifestyle push

"We see more and more people spending their time at a festival that brings together music, food and other activities."

Music and outdoor sports are the tentpoles of a lifestyle effort that will support the new 2020 Land Rover Defender, which is making its North American debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Singer John Mayer will perform at the launch event November 19 in Los Angeles. His role with the brand will extend beyond the launch as he is set to appear at a series of national parks next spring for a content campaign that will coincide with the luxury SUV’s appearance in dealerships.

Land Rover’s marketing plans for Defender also include a music festival in the Coachella Valley in January. The 4xFar festival, January 18-19 at the Empire Grand Oasis compound in Coachella Valley, CA, will feature appearances by Anderson Paak, Mark Ronson, Q-Tip, Sofi Tukker and others. 

Outdoor activities will be curated by Outside magazine. There will be bouldering, rock climbing, mountain biking, ax throwing and fly fishing. When festival-goers are ready to sit down and relax, they can attend an outdoor mixology demonstration. 

Tying in more directly with the Land Rover Defender itself, Outdoor experts will show attendees how to pack a vehicle for off-roading and leave a remote campsite without leaving a trace.

"The festival concept is very compelling," said Michael Curmi, brand marketing experience director at Jaguar Land Rover North America. "We see more and more people spending their time at a festival that brings together music, food and other activities." 

In addition to outdoor sports, Land Rover will entertain 4xFar guests with show jumping demonstrations, a nod to the nameplate’s British pedigree. Acres of land at the Empire Grand Oasis will be set up for off-roading, giving festival guests an early opportunity to test-drive the Defender.

According to a Nielsen Music report, music festivals achieved the largest gains in attendance in 2017, especially among millennials and Hispanics. 

As for John Mayer, while he will not be performing at 4xFar, he will be touring some of the national parks in the spring, creating a custom content package. Mayer syncs up nicely as a Land Rover Defender endorser, as he is a longtime owner and spends much of his time at his place in Montana.

"It’s been a 20-year hiatus since we last sold the Defender in the United States," said Curmi. "The nameplate instills tons of emotion in people. People think of it fondly and are really anticipating it coming back."

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