Brand: Jeep Commander (DaimlerChrysler)
Link: Click Here – this link is to AdRags which requires a small fee to view ads
Target: Drivers looking for a rugged, comfortable vehicle
A large 4×4 drives through a snow-covered landscape and the words “50km South of Arctic Base Camp” appear in military green computer type over the scene. We see two rugged looking men in parkas driving the vehicle. A voiceover says “Three Climate Zones” as we hear one of the men say “How’s he doing?” then we see the second man changing one of two visible temperature dials on the climate control to above 70 degrees. The voiceover continues “Three Rows of Seats,” and the spot pans back to the third row, where a neolithic-looking man is frozen in a block of ice which is not visibly melting. The voiceover continues, “so everyone can travel in comfort. The all-new seven passenger Jeep Commander. It’s your world. Take Command.” The spot ends with a long shot of the Jeep continuing to drive through the snow and the Jeep logo with the words “Commander Starting at $26,485″ and an asterisk to legal language below.
This is a genuinely funny spot with classic Jeep brand positioning – built rugged so you don’t have to be. In this case, Jeep is showing us that if two Artic explorers can be comfortable in the artic in their front seats while a block of ice in the third row stays frozen, then we will be very comfortable with Madison and Ashton sitting in the same place watching DVDs while we drive for groceries.
We chose this spot to make a point about exaggeration in advertising. The point is that we don’t much like it except when it is used to lampoon conventional wisdom, and those cases are rare.
Here the exaggeration is about that third-row passenger. While the explorers in the front seat are wearing parkas, they have the climate control for their seats set over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which is room temperature. The block of the ice in the third row doesn’t seem to be melting. That implies that the Jeep is sustaining a temperature differential of more than 40 degrees between the first and third row of seats – or roughly the difference between summer and winter in Trenton, NJ. Anyone who has experienced dual-zone climate control can tell you that having cool air blow on you while hot air blows on your spouse is a nice luxury and keeps both of you happier. But in no sense does the car become a spa with hot and cold contrasting baths. So while we will be happy to hear from Jeep that the Commander can indeed maintain a 40 degree temperature differential between front and back, this seems to be an exaggeration.
Which is a problem for Jeep. Why? The Jeep brand lives and dies on authenticity. The Rubicon trail, the military heritage, the off-road credentials of these vehicles all make suburbanites feel like they are driving ‘the real thing’ when they conquer the shopping malls. The problem with exaggeration – even when it is used with comedy in mind – is that it feels inauthentic.
This is not the only inauthentic touch in the spot. The cave-dweller himself looks exaggerated, the explorers have big parkas but no hats, goggles or gloves in evidence and have set their interior temperature for the front row far too high for anyone wearing a parka. And one has to wonder why they are driving through the Artic which is not a landmass but ice.
But the worst bit of inauthenticity has to be the small print under the Jeep brand name, which reveals that the Jeep Commander pictured costs not $26,485 (the base price), but $41,220 which is a figure that includes a $1,500 cash allowance and that – and this is hard to believe – the pictured vehicle is a 4X2 or a Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicle. That’s right, folks, the intrepid Artic explorers were too cheap to spring for four-wheel drive!
Branding Bottom Line:
Jeep sells us pleather.