MARKETING MIX: Jaguar plays its cards wrong

Luxury car manufacturer Jaguar has got itself into hot water with the great British public after a Valentine's promotional stunt went badly wrong.

Jaguar's marketing boffins dreamed up the idea of sending prospective customers a mock Valentine's card to promote its XK8 Sports Car.

It used suggestive language to raise the pulse of potential purchasers and get them a bit hot under the collar. 'What drives you wild?A long honed body? Firm, sensuous curves? A deep responsive purr?' were just some of the lurid phrases (more at home in an adult magazine) used in the card.

Unfortunately, it hit a raw nerve with many. Within seconds of the 'cards' landing on the doormats of unsuspecting householders, it all went horribly wrong.

Husbands and wives across the country were left confused, with some accusing their other half of being unfaithful or having secret admirers.

Needless to say, for some recipients Valentine's was a very unhappy time, with a newspaper report claiming that one partner called the police, while another threatened her husband with physical violence.

Jaguar has apologised for the distress the promotion caused, insisting it was tongue-in-cheek, but it provides a timely lesson for marketers: jumping on the Valentine's bandwagon in the name of advertising is not always a good thing - especially when there is apparently so much paranoia in British households.

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