- Jaguar launched a campaign petitioning to redefine the word "car," reflecting the brand's shift toward electric vehicles, according to a company release.
- The effort centers around the electric Jaguar I-Pace model, which in April was named 2019 World Car of the year at the New York Auto Show. However, Jaguar is now pointing out that the definition of "car" in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), an authoritative source, defines it as being powered by an "internal combustion engine," which models like the I-Pace don't rely on.
- To help determine a better definition for "car," Jaguar is asking fans for suggestions via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through the hashtag #RedefineTheCar.
Jaguar's effort to position itself on the leading edge of cars' redefinition is well timed. Not only does the OED define car as being powered by internal combustion engine, but it also describes it as a vehicle with a driver and a small number of passengers. As the potential of fully electric and self-driving vehicles gets closer to being realized, that part of the definition could also become outdated.
As part of the push, Jaguar has formally petitioned the OED to update its definition to include other powertrains, such as electric motors. The campaign arrives as key competitors are also ramping up their electric offerings.
Audi, for example, has put heavier marketing behind its first fully electric model, the E-tron, though the vehicle has been plagued by production troubles. Tesla also continues to be one of the more recognized brands in the category, despite its own headwinds.
Conversely, Jaguar is looking to capitalize on the accolades and positive PR the I-Pace has received. Brands in categories beyond automotive have also leveraged the power of social media to boost momentum behind petitions and newer products.
Restaurant chain Carl's Jr. recently ran a similar campaign to add "Condimeat" as an official term in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The portmanteau describes an additional protein, like bacon, pork or pastrami, put atop a beef burger, and was used to promote the fast food chain's Pastrami Thickburger. Carl's Jr. asked followers to sign a Change.org petition and share a #Condimeat hashtag on social media to raise awareness.
On National Sandwich Day last fall, Tyson Foods-owned brand Jimmy Dean similarly encouraged consumers to sign a petition redefining "sandwich" to include breadless options in support of the introduction of a breakfast offering using two egg frittatas as bun equivalents.