(c) the Thief, photo Mattias Hamrén and Jason Strong

Jaguar Land Rover Global Media Drive

Car Launch in Norway – 600 participants with 19 back-to-back rotations

First United received the complex and challenging request from Imagination Europe Ltd. just over one year before the “pit start” of the new Range Rover Velar 2017 Global Media drive. First United has extensive knowledge about Norway and automotive events and was happy to take up the challenge.


First United found unique locations off the beaten track and obtained permission to drive on private roads and up ski hills. Furthermore, First United agreed with the owner of the Storfjord Hotel to have ten extra rooms built for the event, a 43% increase. Several private companies outside the event industry became part of this extraordinary event, and the authorities agreed to a special customs and passport check at the airport and even allowed a line-up of cars on the airport apron. This was an event where First United proved that we can tailor everything!

The scale of the project

Over 600 journalists and influencers participated in the 19 back-to-back rotations, each involving two drive days and one overnight. The event was run for three weeks, with a new group of participants arriving daily. The planning stage took just over a year.

Daily Schedule 

The groups consisted of approx. 30 participants, who arrived daily on privately chartered flights to Molde Airport. Disembarking the plane, the participants walked right by a lineup of new Range Rover Velars through the special arrival formalities and into a briefing room designed for the event by Imagination Europe’s creative team.

After the arrival briefing, the participants started the test drive from the airport in the new Range Rover Velar. The drive experience designed by the Jaguar Land Rover drive team encompassed regular roads, hairpin corner mountain roads, an “off-road” experience on forest and field tracks, and a static obstacle course highlighting particular handling features.

Breakfast with a viewFinding the perfect lunch spot was a bigger challenge than anticipated. After extensive research, First United managed to find a unique and iconic lunch venue by a lake in the beautiful wilderness – we knew this was a perfect match! After the find came the challenge of persuading the owner to let us use his newly built private cabin. We succeeded, and the last work of getting the big lawn done was speeded up, so all was ready for the event.

Norwegian breakfastAfter lunch, the media would continue their drive up Trollstigen (“Troll’s ladder”) to an incredible viewpoint. At the top of the mountain, it was time for a break at the stylish Trollstigen Café; a unique set-up at the café was arranged for the media, and as part of the logistics, an event parking area was set aside, allowing easy and fast access to the café.

Indoor car obstacle courseJust four weeks before the event started, the drive team wanted to add a static obstacle course to the experience. First United found the perfect place for this: an old salmon hatchery on the waterfront of a little seaport, located just before a forest track towards the event hotel.

Storfjord Hotel with grass-roofed log cabinsOriginally a quick and convenient lunch stop on the first project site visit – Storfjord Hotel, with its charming log-style building and grass roofs, offered the perfect match for the car – but insufficient rooms to be usable for overnight stay.  Following First United’s discussions with the hotel, the owner decided to expand the hotel with 10 additional rooms, bringing the room count from 23 to 33, making it possible to use the hotel for the event. This expansion was made after the summer season, from October to June, in time for the event in July.

The second day of drive experiences took the participants across on a car ferry, along gravel roads in gripping scenery, and up the mountain at Stranda Ski Resort, with inclines up to 17%, to reach the Eagles Nest restaurant for brunch. The day offered unforgettable experiences, the best views in Norway, and, of course, great opportunities to check the car’s technical characteristics. After descending the mountain, an impressive river crossing, and once across the river, the press parked their Range Rover Velar at the ski resort parking lot and changed car to the latest model of the Jaguar F Type for a drive in style to Ålesund airport for their departure flight.

Behind the scenes: technical aspects, IT infrastructure, and even more….

The technical and safety aspects were just as crucial as the perfectly chosen route – the cars needed to be in perfect condition regardless of the weather and other surprises.

After thorough research, First United found a private company with the facilities needed for a vehicle operation center. It takes a bit more negotiations with companies outside the event industry, but First United managed to lease the facilities of the private company. Special areas were designed to serve all the technical needs – a vehicle operations center, car wash and polishing stations, and indoor parking facilities – all conveniently placed close to Storfjord hotel, gathered in the same area, and protected from unwanted attention. In addition, a secured garage area was rented from the port authorities in Ålesund to have a protected location close to the staff hotel and event office.

With 19 back-to-back rotations, all the cars needed to be transported on trucks daily from point A to point B. First United arranged special parking areas reserved in both airports for pick-up and drop-off by the trucks.

The IT infrastructure is always critical for an event like this, and out in the Fjords, extra capacity was needed. First United helped to set up the extra IT infrastructure needed. Luckily, the locals were happy to help. First United arranged with the locals to set up IT equipment on their rooftop so the data exchange could run just as smoothly as the operation of the event itself.

Moreover, the project involved almost 130 persons on staff with accommodation in 2 central hotels in Ålesund and an operational office with a GPS tracking station.

First United was happy to be the dedicated “co-driver” at this event, taking the media up the mountains and down the rivers, enjoying Norwegian nature and architecture. At First United, we execute with Scandinavian insight and passion, and we are happy and proud of the feedback from Jaguar Land Rover:

On behalf of the entire Jaguar Land Rover team, I would like to thank you for all of your help and support over the last year pulling together such a successful event. The reports coming in have been incredibly positive! It has been a pleasure to work with you and I hope you feel the same about us and our extended imagination team.

Best wishes Jess

Agency: Imagination Ltd. Client: Jaguar Land Rover