Land Rover has teamed up with internationally acclaimed British author William Boyd to produce a unique adventure thriller. While the pairing may seem unusual, Land Rover was eager to help tell Boyd’s latest story that follows the protagonist Alec Dunbar on a mysterious driving adventure across the U.K.
The British luxury SUV brand just released The Vanishing Game in an innovative interactive digital book format that helps bring the story to life. From the streets of London to the remote Highlands of Scotland, the reader is able to become immersed in the adventure as it’s told through much more than just words and images.
While Alec Dunbar may be the main character in The Vanishing Game, a weather-battered Land Rover Defender also plays one of the primary roles in the story. The author was all too eager to feature the Defender in one of his stories, as the rugged brand has been a constant fixture of its own personal adventures.
“One of the collateral pleasures of writing The Vanishing Game was that it made me realize how prominently Land Rover has featured in my life-in Africa and Britain-to an almost mythic degree,” said William Boyd. “I remember as a boy being driven in a Land Rover through tropical rain forest to the Volta River in Ghana to fish for freshwater barracuda. And, as an even younger boy, climbing into my Uncle Ronnie’s Land Rover, the Scottish day dawning, as we went out to feed the sheep on his farm.
On the technical side, the The Vanishing Game project was made possible by Land Rover’s innovative partners, which include Y&R New York and Tool of North America. Together with Boyd’s literary magic, The Vanishing Game is able to take readers on a unique adventure that is aided by dynamic video, cinemagraphs, photography, animation, sound, music, and narration in Boyd’s own captivating British voice. The story is also complemented by snippets of driving journeys from actual Land Rover owners.
“The Vanishing Game project captures how driving and adventures are a rich part of the Land Rover DNA,” said Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “We are constantly exploring new ways to bring our owners’ passion for their vehicles to life, this time in a commissioned literary project penned by a remarkably talented British author and offered to the world through the latest interactive digital spaces.”
The Vanishing Game is certainly one of the most innovative examples of brand storytelling. But it’s more than just a marketing vehicle. For Boyd, driving adventures like those illustrated in his story capture what’s unique about Land Rover and its vehicles.
“A Land Rover is part of the mental geography of almost every British person,” added Boyd. “Consequently, to be asked to write a story in which a Land Rover features was immensely appealing, almost an act of homage. What I tried to achieve was to make the Land Rover an inherent presence in the story, something always there-implicit, strong, solid, reliable, ready to function-very like the part it plays in my memory. Welcome to an icon of motor vehicle history.”