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Jaguar Land Rover ‘Dragon Challenge’ / Spark44

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Jaguar Land Rover has released a new short film to promote its new Range Rover Sport, a hybrid gasoline and electric SUV. The spot sees the showroom standard Range Rover Sport PHEV (P400e) take on a dangerous and seemingly impossible challenge.


The work is part of the brand's ‘Driven Challenges’ series, which has thus far included ‘Pikes Peak’, in which the Range Rover Sport set the fastest time by a production SUV to climb the highest summit of the Colarado’s southern front range of the Rocket Mountains; ‘Empty Quarter’, which saw the same vehicle break the world record for crossing the Arabian Penisula’s Rub’ al Khali desert; and ‘Inferno Downhill’, which saw it become the first production SUV to drive down an alpine ski course.


The new spot sets yet another unusual record, seeing the SUV become the first ever vehicle to climb the 999 steps of the Tianmen Mountain which lead up to Heaven’s Gate, in a spot entitled ‘The Dragon Challenge’. The Range Rover Sport is driven by Chinese-Dutch autoracing driver Ho-Pin Tung. Firstly, the driver encounters the 99 turns twists and turns leading by to the Tianman Shan Big Gate, zooming through, with ease, one of the most dangerous roads in the world. The film oozes atmosphere as the bright red car cuts through the lush greenery and mystical fog.



To add depth to the piece, the car marque also interviews locals, who we see speaking about the mountain, educating the viewer on its history and culture, and warning against the driver’s action. These interview clips are spliced between shots of the car overcoming the doubters and performing the tricky stunts. Plus, seeing the speed of the SUV going up the twists and turns, contrasted against the slow speed at which tourist buses climb up the same paths, helps build tension and makes for an entertaining story.


Having completed the 99 turns, driving up the near 45-degree staircase seems an impossible task. Clever camera angles and music intensify the situation, as well as interweaving images of the cars progress on the steps and Tung’s reactions within the car. Of course, the car makes it to the top to the delight of onlookers.


It is an artistic and exhilarating spot, which has the viewer literally on the edge of their seat willing the car to keep edging up the steep incline. A spot that evokes a physical and emotional reaction in the audience is always going to be a memorable one, and we can only praise the story told by Jaguar Land Rover, especially as it showcases the abilities of hybrid-electric cars.


The work, created by the car marques creative agency Spark44, will run globally on social media, print, TV, outdoor and digital, dropping first in the US. Mindshare handled media for the campaign.