American chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain, is known for his best-selling memoir “Kitchen Confidential,” and now host of CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. His wry humor and profanity-laced delivery earned him the unofficial title of “culinary bad boy.”
According to Ad Age, “Anthony Bourdain is not a fan of product placements.” In the past, he has lashed out in (also profanity-laced) tweets at his networks for tying his name to ads that he didn’t approve - one particular incident involved US automaker Cadillac. However, Land Rover was able to convince Bourdain to give them a prime product placement as part of its “exclusive launch sponsorship” of a digital extension of the “Parts Unknown" TV series.
The "Explore Parts Unknown" digital travel site features Bourdain on a culinary journey through Spain. The new Discovery is featured prominently. In the opening scene of the first video he pops out of a white Discovery after driving it through a narrow street in Barcelona. The deal also includes promotional spots on TV that drive viewers to the site.
Ad Age kindly interviewed Kim McCullough, JLR North America’s VP of marketing. When asked what it was like to work with Bourdain, and why he was receptive to Land Rover’s approach, McCullough responded, “It's really important from an audience standpoint that something feels seamless, that it doesn't feel like all of the sudden there is this product there that shouldn't be there or isn't in its natural habitat. That is another reason why in this case he accepted this type of partnership and thought it would work for him.”
When asked about the people driving the booming SUV market, and whether they target people who actually use the vehicles in rugged terrain, McCullough offered, “We often use the analogy with high-end watches that are safe for 40 fathoms deep. Now, no one is going to go scuba diving that deep, but they want to know that they have something that is engineered to that level, so that is part of the appeal. In the Northeast when you have inclement weather, when you have a lot of rain or flooding, being able to know that, 'Hey I can get out of this situation because I do have a capable product' is absolutely part of the appeal.”
Not that we need any justification for using Land Rovers in our urban environment, but thanks anyway Kim. We will keep our eyes peeled for the Bourdain segments to catch a glimpse of the Discovery in action.
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