Jeep Seeks Friends on Social Networks

NEW YORK Jeep has launched its most aggressive push into social networking with an interactive campaign that leans heavily on MySpace and Facebook to promote a concert series.

To support the launch of the 2007 Jeep Compass, a smallish SUV targeting young adults, the DaimlerChrysler brand is kicking off a nationwide concert series. “Uncharted: The Jeep Compass Music Tour” begins Aug. 24, featuring eight performers, headlined by G. Love & Special Sauce.

Jeep agency Organic chose to forgo Jeep.com or a special tour address in favor of a presence on MySpace and Facebook. At the Jeep MySpace page (www.myspace.com/jeep), fans can add Jeep as a “friend” to receive information on concerts in their areas. either (Updates are sent either to their MySpace page or via text message.) Jeep has also sponsored a similar page on Facebook.

“We see the opportunities to take Jeep into social networks as a way to be a leader in going to where the consumers are,” said Chuck Sullivan, group director and engagement manager at Organic, part of Omnicom Group. “MySpace and Facebook have been huge successes. Their growth has convinced us that you really need to fish where the fish are.”

Jeep is following the lead of several entertainment companies that have utilized MySpace for promotions. Movie studios and bands have routinely used MySpace; a growing number of large brands, like Burger King and Honda, have also set up pages.

Sullivan said there was a “healthy discussion” about whether to build a stand-alone site or post the information on social networks. “It became very apparent that distributed content is the way of the future,” he said.

The profile pages contain video clips from concerts, song downloads and discussion forums. As part of its promotional deal, Jeep will use banner ads on MySpace and Facebook to drive traffic to the Jeep profile page.

Although the concert series concludes Sept. 26, Jeep will retain its MySpace presence, updating it with fresh content as necessary, Sullivan said.

The social network push is part of DaimlerChrysler’s effort to expand the demographic of Jeep owners. Models like Cherokee and Commander typically appeal to those over 30, while the $22,000 Compass is targeted at recent college graduates. (To kick off the Compass ad campaign, Jeep launched an online karaoke site that lets visitors create singing avatars to send to their friends.)