Is W+K’s ‘Built Free’ Spot Advertising the 2014 Jeep Cherokee or Base Jumping?

By Erik Oster 

W+K Shanghai’s new spot for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee “Built Free” doesn’t tell you much about what you can expect from the vehicle. In fact, you don’t even see the new Cherokee until around the 20 second spot — and don’t get a real good picture of what it looks like until almost 50 seconds in. Instead, W+K opts to sell viewers on a concept of the Jeep vehicle as a tool for freedom, as the “Built Free” tag exemplifies.

The spot makes good use of the Bob Dylan obscurity “Motherless Children,” and is well-directed, with the footage doing a good job of advancing the story the narrative tells of youthful curiosity losing out to the pressures of adult life. “People told you things: where to go, what to do, what not to do,” says the narrator, before implying that the Cherokee is the tool you need to “throw yourself at the world head first again.” It’s not the most innovative of strategies, selling a lifestyle associated with a vehicle, even if the sparsity of said vehicle (and no mention whatsoever of its features) in the spot is a little jarring. It’s easy to like the spot’s sentiment, but a lot harder to understand why the vehicle it’s supposed to be selling is largely absent.

Head of marketing for the Jeep brand Kim Adams-House told Autoblog that future ads for the Cherokee “will speak to more” of the vehicle’s features. Still, you have to wonder about the strategy of selling a vehicle without telling viewers much about it — and hardly featuring the vehicle in the ad, for that matter. It might as well be a spot for base jumping, since that activity is given about as much screen time as the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. We’ll have to see where W+K takes the Cherokee’s “Built Free” campaign in the future, but a new strategy might be in order.