Land Rover “Sword Collector”

There’s no doubt this spot will arrest viewers’ attention, as a man whose office wall is covered with samurai swords — and who, for good measure, wears one attached to his belt — is asked by his manager to come for a little chat. Will viewers also take in that it’s a safety-oriented sales pitch (via Young & Rubicam, New York) for Land Rover? Those watching most carefully will see it’s a Land Rover that Manager Man gets into (after trekking down from office to parking garage) before delivering the bad news to Sword Man that the latter’s collection has to go. And everyone will see the onscreen super that explains why Manager Man chose to climb into his Land Rover before antagonizing this sword-wielding oddball: “You’ll feel safe inside.” Of course, the vignette itself will be a bit too odd for some viewers. And anyone whose attention strays before the 41st second of this 45-second spot will miss the sales point. But you can see why agency and client felt inclined to try something offbeat. “Safety” is a valuable positioning for a motor vehicle. But it’s also intrinsically dull — the absence, after all, of something dramatically bad happening. It wouldn’t make sense for Land Rover to ignore the equity it has in a reputation for safety (as, to some degree, Volvo has done in the past year or two). So it’s well worth a try to enliven the concept of safety. If nothing else, the spot accomplishes that, and does so in a stylish way. –Mark Dolliver