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Compass Points Toward Syndicated TV, Web

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LOS ANGELES DaimlerChrysler's marketing push for its Compass SUV leans heavily on branded entertainment and includes a January syndicated TV show that documents the Jeep vehicle's on-the-road music program.

Event marketing includes the "Jeep Uncharted" tour featuring artists such as G-love and Special Sauce performing at planned events and doing spontaneous gigs from the Compass, using the vehicle's lift gate speakers.

Freewheeling Films in Aspen, Colo., will document the tour for use on TV, though the show could premiere on the Web, said Jay Kuhnie, Jeep's director of communications.

Omnicom Group's BBDO in Detroit and independent GlobalHue in New York work on the nameplate's TV ads, which are on air now and feature bobble-head dolls nodding as the vehicles zoom past.

The Compass is a new entry in the small, fuel-efficient sport-utility vehicle market, where it competes with two of the best-selling models, Toyota's RAV4 and Honda's CR-V, both refreshed this year with modern styling.

For at least a half-decade, Jeep has made a concerted effort to expand its sales base by luring female consumers, and it makes no exceptions with the design and marketing of the Compass.

"Overall, it will reach outside the normal Jeep audience, with the entry-level price point, articulating speakers built into the lift gate, MP3 connectivity and especially the contemporary, rounder, modern styling, but still with the fun and cool of the Jeep brand," said Kuhnie.

Kuhnie said the 2001 Liberty model was the first Jeep to sell more to women than men (at a greater than 60 percent skew). "That brought a larger proportion of women into the brand and when that happened, it certainly broadened our reach with additional buyers, not substitution [buyers]," he said.

He added that the Compass allows Jeep to, for the first time, vie with the CR-V and the RAV4, and even some of the new utility-oriented cars [Adweek, Oct. 2].