Land Rover has become the first global partner of Virgin Galactic and kicked off the tie-up at The New York International Motor Show with its global reveal of the new Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept car alongside Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo ‘VSS Enterprise’.
Land Rover’s partnership package spans both the immediate run-up to Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space flight and its service beyond the initial launch.
The sponsorship is being activated by a Brooklyn Brothers campaign which will roll out in all Land Rover markets.
This campaign is set to include co-branded TV spots, outdoor and digital content, plus integration with Virgin Galactic’s ‘Space Race’ reality TV series which sees consumers compete to win a free ride on SpaceShipTwo.
To accompany the NY Motor Show launch event for 200 VIPs on board aircraft carrier/museum USS Intrepid (which also boasts a concorde and a space shuttle), the partnership activation includes a webfilm focusing on synergies between the philosophies and visions of the two brands.
This video explores how the two organisations have similar design approaches, a shared adventurous spirit and both brands are positioned around innovation and exploration.
The partnership also sees Land Rover provide vehicular support at Virgin Galactic’s Californian test centre in the Mojave Desert, its New Mexico astronaut training facility and at the 18,000 acre Spaceport America launch facility (which will serve both Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and other suborbital launch missions).
The two organisations also plan to share technical knowledge and co-develop future-facing research.
Some of which will be developed with Land Rover’s Discovery Vision Concept vehicle, which it describes as ‘The SUV Of The Future’, in mind.
The concept model featured a range of future-facing technologies – from an augmented reality system (which provides the driver with a ‘see-through view’ of the terrain ahead), to gesture control (for indicators, headlights and doors), laser referencing (which projects symbols and markers onto the road to help the driver during difficult low-speed driving scenarios) and even detachable armrests which can be deployed as rolling suitcases (which fit in the overhead bins of commercial aircraft).
Land Rover has yet to announce a release date or price for the vehicle.
Land Rover also aims to benefit from the worldwide media attention that seems certain to surround the first commercial space flight later this year.
‘The safety and engineering excellence of Land Rover’s vehicles, which have been the stuff of legend for more than 65 years, are attributes which also lie at the heart of Virgin Galactic,’ said Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson.
‘It is hard to think of a brand which is more synonymous with exploration and adventure. We look forward to crossing the final frontier together, and to a long and fruitful partnership.’
‘This is a marriage of two of Britain’s most iconic brands which celebrate shared values, a pioneering spirit and a true sense of adventure,’ adds Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director of Jaguar Land Rover.
‘Not only do we both share the same long-term vision to enable mankind to explore, but we also want to develop this partnership to inspire others. From our tens of thousands of employees and customers to schools and colleges, motivating more young people to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology and math – and explore new ways of travelling for future generations. It’s a very special match of brands with a shared vision.’
As well as this first groundbreaking partnership, Virgin Galactic is also seeking further sponsors to help its fund and promote its commercial space service.
It claims that its main objective for additional brand partnerships is to make the dream experience more accessible to consumers.
According to the space pioneers, there are an unlimited number of sponsorship slots available to partner the space pioneers, but the Virgin Galactic team are particularly keen for sponsors in the clothing, technology, timing and insurance categories.
Neil Ross Russell, head of brand partnerships at Virgin Galactic, points out that commercial space flight is not cheap and not easy.
‘There are a lot of elements that we have to tick off when it comes to running a space line and that includes transportation and technology. The partnerships we’re looking to form will help us manage the day-to-day operation of the business,’ Russell explains.
‘We thought about creating pre-packaged options for potential sponsors but quickly realised that this wasn’t for us. While all deals will incorporate traditional sponsorship assets like the space ships, the space ports, the suits and the tickets, we want to make the partnerships more about future generations being able to access space. Each deal is being developed bespoke to ensure we’re able to deliver value to our sponsors.’
The current spaceflight service costs around $250,000 (£149,000).
Virgin Galactic is also currently in negotiation with potential broadcasters in key markets to air the first flight live.
Other Virgin Galactic promotions have been largely PR led, but this will switch towards a blend of work across online and traditional channels as the organisation moves closer to the inaugural flight.
This includes a partnership with the organisers of the Zero G Colony – a three-day, high tech music festival which is scheduled to take be held at New Mexico’s ‘Spaceport America’ in 2015.
Virgin Galactic Website
Virgin Galactic Partnership Statement
Land Rover Website