One fundamental aspect of all branding that still holds true is the consumer desire to be part of something. Land Rover did this well recently with its brilliant “The Vanishing Game,” which featured a story by novelist William Boyd.
The automaker has launched “The Vanishing Game,” an interactive version of novelist William Boyd’s 17,000-word short fiction about Alec Dunbar, a washed-up actor who is sent off on a mysterious driving adventure across the U.K.
“We were not aware of any other brands who had worked with an author when we conceived this project,” said Y&R New York ecd Marc Sobier. “We gave him free reign to tell the story he wanted and feature any Land Rover vehicle he wanted. This makes it more of a true commission, rather than product placement or sponsorship. If an artist’s freedom is respected, I think these types of projects would be more appealing to them.”
“Land Rover has long been a symbol and means of adventure,” said Sobier. “To incite a spirit of adventure in people and create an aspirational relationship with the brand, we developed original content that was designed to be experienced and very shareable in the social space.”
In 1998, Boyd published Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960, which presents the paintings and tragic biography of a supposed New York-based 1950s abstract expressionist painter named Nat Tate, who actually never existed and was, along with his paintings, a creation of Boyd’s. When the book was initially published, it was not revealed that it was a work of fiction, and some were duped by the hoax; it was launched at a lavish party, with excerpts read by David Bowie (who was in on the joke), and a number of prominent members of the art world claimed to remember the artist. It caused quite a stir once the truth was revealed.
The name “Nat Tate” is derived from the names of the two leading British art galleries: the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. Nat Tate also appears in Any Human Heart, also by Boyd, with a wry footnote to the 1998 book.