Landy of the Rising Sun: Japanese TV show recreates local Land Rover campaign

From handjob karaoke to human tetris to the crazy screaming man, the Japanese are renowned for making some pretty mad TV. And now that madness has come to New Zealand, with Japanese variety/documentary show Unbelievable finding inspiration in Land Rover and Y&R’s Valentine’s Day campaign from earlier this year. 

After spotting a TradeMe ad from four Otago Uni mates who put their old, beaten and broken 1957 Series I up for sale, Land Rover bought it, restored it and, after a bit of intricate subterfuge, returned it to them. The video of the undercover operation has been viewed more than eight million times around the globe and the campaign picked up a few awards at the recent TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards. And Unbelievable, which mixes game show style television with “unbelievable” stories from around the globe, decided to do its own version with a combination of existing footage and new scenes. If only there was a whack in the nuts involved to spice things up a bit. 

“The “Kiseki taiken – Unbelievable!” production team always have an eye out for online stories that might be right for the show, which range from the funny to the frightening, the inspiring to the heart warming, with a common factor that they are amazing true stories with a positive outcome,” said Hideaki Arai, the New Zealand based producer for Unbelievable. “The show’s producers were drawn to the Land Rover Valentines story because it showed the Land Rover team’s true understanding of how fond the Landy owners were of their special vehicle, and how many memories of the good times they’ve spent together are tied up with Landy.” 

The show’s producers came to New Zealand to interview the main protagonists of the ‘Love from Land Rover’ story, including two of the owners Will Radford and Jeremy Wells and Land Rover New Zealand marketing manager James McKee. 

The show aired in Japan last week and McKee says the effort they went to recreate the story shows just how much the Land Rover brand means to people all over the globe. He didn’t say that it might also show the Japanese will seemingly watch anything. 

2015 is the final year of production of the Land Rover Defender in its current from. It is the direct descendent of the Series 1 Land Rover and the final vehicle will roll of the production line in Solihull, UK in December of this year. 

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