Rumors leaking from several news sources point to the imminent release of a Victoria Beckham Special Edition Evoque. This latest development from Land Rover is sure to delight the throngs of Spice Girls fans and TMZ devotees who have outgrown the lunch boxes and trapper keepers once used to display allegiance to their favorite pop star.
But seriously. Does Victoria Beckham still hold clout as a cultural icon? Does her current fame or unique skill set make her deserving of a Special Edition vehicle in her name? Am I so ethnocentric, as to not fully grasp her global appeal? This entry is not a tongue-in-cheek indictment of Beckham’s talent, but rather an honest inquiry into Land Rover’s decision to place her name on their vehicle.
Some internet digging unearthed the following quote from Land Rover, and offers insight into the Rover/Beckham union:
"She's established herself in her own right as a designer and she has some interesting perspectives and she's owned Range Rovers for years and years so it will be interesting to get an outside point of view, somebody that's really aware of the luxury goods sector of the market which is really important to us," said Range Rover Design Director Gerry McGovern.
So, Beckham is a British fashion designer, she has owned Range Rovers and she’s “really aware of the luxury goods sector” (insert: rich). That's all it takes to get your own Range Rover? I struggle to see how this criterion is noteworthy or unique. "Beckham is rich and attractive and we want to find rich and attractive people to purchase the Evoque?" A few months ago I reported on the branding changes taking place with Land Rover and Range Rover models. Never would I have guessed a Victoria Beckham Range Rover. Never.
The Evoque – it would seem – is not your parent's Land Rover.
For Rover, Beckham’s personification of style and wealth (her nickname is Posh!) represent qualities that the target audience of urban, affluent consumers long for. Admittedly, it is difficult to criticize Land Rover for evaluating their demographic when branding a new product. As a business, Land Rover needs to develop a marketing strategy aimed at maximizing unit sales.The City Shapers campaign, Evoque Live Concert Series and “Being Henry” interactive video were all extremely innovative marketing tactics designed to reach a more progressive audience. These advertisings ploys were inventive and effective without selling out the Evoque’s Land Rover bloodline. Yet, by manufacturing a Victoria Beckham Special Edition Evoque, Land Rover will compromise the integrity of its brand in an effort to develop some abstract urban-chic motif for the Evoque.
The real shame is that the Evoque is a highly capable off road machine, completely deserving of its Land Rover badge. Anyone who has seen it in action or driven it can attest to this. Despite its capabilities, The Victoria Beckham Special Edition will likely receive some awkward looks on the trail, if it ever makes it there.
Perhaps this criticism of Land Rover is unfair, or at least premature. The Victoria Beckham Special Edition Evoque would be an easier pill to swallow if its release was accompanied by the unveiling of a “Camel Trophy Special Edition LR4” or the “Solihull Edition Range Rover;” a special edition that would acknowledge Land Rover's heritage (think Jeep Rubicon). Sadly, this does not seem likely. Nor does it seem likely that the off-road prowess, utilitarian capabilities, or proud British heritage will make it to the forefront of Rover product marketing any time soon.
Until it does, enjoy your Special Edition Spice Girls Evoque.
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