jaguar logoLuxury brands are gasping for air. Automotive doesn’t seem to know where its next metaphorical meal is from. And the fabled Year of Mobile has not yet dawned. Yet despite it all, Jaguar and Land Rover have together committed $1.6 million to US mobile advertising.

That’s a big, big buy. And it represents only 60 percent of the automakers’ total mobile rover

Mobile ad network AdMob will be running the campaigns, once they stop jumping for joy at company HQ. Earlier this month, the company got a C round cash infusion of $12.5 million.

As an article in Ad Age points out, this level of commitment to the mobile platform borders on the unprecedented. Mobile is still very much in the sandbox of digital spending, accounting for only a small proportion of experimental marketing budgets — and who’s experimenting with money these day?

The report cites TNS Media Intelligence data indicating Land Rover spent $63 million on domestic measured media in the

nine months of 2008, while Jaguar’s spending was
$38 million in the same timeframe. Do the math: this mean the automakers ahve committed roughly $2 million to mobile in 2009, or a rough one percent of their total ad budgets.

That’s around the threshold digital was in 2002, when global brands such as McDonald’s allocated about one percent of their total annual ad budget to Web advertising.

Optimism over mobile advertising growth has just offically bumped up a notch. Or two.