STAYING IN / York on Ads: No 51: Range Rover - An upmarket journey puts top people in top gear

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The Independent Culture
'This is a commercial,' it says, at the midpoint of Range Rover's new three-minute epics. It's a necessary caution, because they've worked so hard to make these accounts of the land authentic, concerned, and quality as to induce the worthy dullness of the nice-looking sponsored travelogue.

'Two weeks ago, five groups of people set off from the Royal Geographical Society and embarked on five different journeys,' the screen announces.

Below is the Land Rover logo and, in very small letters, our caution. And off they go, these quality, concerned, real people, to just the locations most favoured by Ralph Lauren (in the three I've seen) as backgrounds for shooting quality, authentic, classy people who are actually models - looking anything but concerned. They go to Botswana - glorious safari views - to Vermont and the Cotswolds. They're in a fleet of new Range Rovers. But we're not bothered with copy points about the vehicle's sterling qualities. This is a class sell.

Everything looks lovely, famous faces appear - David Gower, Sir Peter de la Billiere - and in Botswana and Vermont there is a lot of very concerned voice-over stuff about issues like elephant conservation, the flight from the land, the problems posed by tourism. It is the stuff of the conferences that the great and the good hold with and for each other. It's also what authentic, etc people talk about when they go on their utterly unpackaged holidays.

In the Cotswolds, there are nice Highgrove-ish houses, real farming and lots of appropriate voice-over poetry - the Kipling piece about real gardeners, some Shelley.

So heavy is the emphasis on quality, authenticity and concern that one suspects that Range Rover may feel a wee bit light on these attributes, a wee bit closely associated with City wide-boys with weekend houses equipped with fax and modem for constant contact with The Smoke. Peter York Videos supplied by Tellex Commercials.

(Photographs omitted)