Heritage Key to New Jeep Work

PentaMark plays up Jeep’s heritage as an “American original” and the original sport utility vehicle in new spots that break over the next several weeks.

The agency had planned to take a somewhat patriotic tone for the Jeep work even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said Bill Morden, executive creative director at the Troy, Mich., shop. The commercials had to be re-evaluated after that date in an effort to make sure they didn’t appear to be overtly taking advantage of the surge in nationalistic sentiment.

The agency looked to strike “the right balance of connecting [ads] to a real historical notion and not over-pressing the patriotic Americanism and commercializing it,” said Morden. “I think there’s a real fine line to it. We were especially sensitive to that after 9/11,” he said.

Four new TV spots build on the brand’s longtime tagline, “Jeep. There’s only one.”

Morden said the tagline was re-evaluated, along with all of the auto maker’s taglines, when new Chrysler marketing chief Jim Schroer took over earlier this year. Research suggested that it still resonated with consumers, and it was kept, he said.

In a commercial called “Fireworks,” a family oohs and ahhs over a display of pyrotechnics while perched high on a mountain. The fireworks turn out to be flares sent by stranded non-Jeep SUV drivers. The family then be-gins driving the Jeep Liberty back down the mountain to rescue the non-Jeep inhabitants, with the mother admonishing, “No laughing this time.”

The spot “has a real competitive edge to it,” Morden said. “Every once in a while we like to reconnect competitively. There are a lot of wannabes and pretenders.”

Nine new print executions are to break in March books. The agency also created several additional TV spots in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks. Those commercials appear as part of Jeep’s sponsorship of the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.