Jeep Grand Cherokee: Best ad campaign of 2011?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee commercials have actually been running since mid-2010. Since then, Jeep has been consistent without boring us. Watch a bunch of them together and see how genius this campaign is—and simple.

Watch this one:

What was the first thing you noticed? No voice, no music, hardly any image of the car itself. Just sound. The sound of wheels driving over rough terrain.

Now, watch another:

See a pattern yet? Starts off with the sound of the car moving from rough terrain into water. All you see is the front of the car as more and more water splashes up. Again, you only see one part of the car. Why this angle? Because everyone knows when everything under the hood gets wet, that car dies.

But Jeep Grand Cherokee keeps moving, and the narrator explains why it can. Then, the camera smartly pans out, so you can watch the Jeep come out of the water and keep going on dry ground.

There’s a third commercial that uses the same approach, but drives through snow—lots of snow. Unfortunately, I can’t find it on the web yet, but you’ll see some images from it in this next commercial. You’ll see why I think the Jeep campaign is so brilliant.

Notice anything familiar?

That’s right, Jeep uses the same content over and over in different ways. Instead of seeing the same commercial over and over again and getting sick of it, we see some of the same actions and hear the same music, but the scripts are different.

All of this ties together nicely:

  • Visuals that realistically show the product in action
  • Sound that makes you feel like you’re there
  • Scripts that resonate with strength and sincerity
  • Music that sounds purposeful and provides audio consistency for the whole campaign

If you go to the Jeep channel on YouTube, you’ll see they reuse content and images quite a bit. This repetition works because it’s well thought out. Each commercial builds on the next, driving the audience to remember those rugged images.

The only thing I didn’t like about the Jeep commercials was the tagline:

The things we make, make us.

But, I finally understood it when I saw their commercial called Manifesto. The narrator explains at the beginning, before we even see the tagline:

The things that make us American are the things we make.

I get it now. I still don’t love it as a tagline, but I do get it.

Wieden + Kennedy, who created these ads, was named 2010 Agency of the Year by Advertising Age, Creativity and Adweek. No surprise there. Given that W+K also made the highly regarded Chrysler “Detroit” ad, they might be the 2011 winner too.

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Another great feature of this Jeep Grand Cherokee campaign? They include a sort of “making of” video on YouTube. Check it out.

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4 comments

  1. skipshoe · March 1, 2011

    Nice post. I like these commercials as well – and love the W&K Detroit ad.
    I actually happen to love their tagline for Jeep as well. Its about making meaning – and when you make something, it is a reflection of who you are. There is a virtuous circle of who you are, what you make, how its valued and back to who you are.

    • ctmarcom · March 1, 2011

      Thanks, Skip. I like the way you sum up the tagline. Very nice. That’s kind of what makes the whole campaign. They came up with this very strong idea, nostalgic even, and stuck with it in almost every detail of the series of commercials. Very well though out and pleasingly cohesive. Not sure we’ve seen a campaign this solid for a while.

  2. AutoConversion · July 19, 2011

    These are good ads, but I am a Jeep fan and biased towards all things Jeep. Their ads would have to really suck for me not to like them. Like those darn Dodge commercials last year. They were terrible.

    • ctmarcom · July 19, 2011

      Jeep had a solid campaign here all around. In fact, it’s so good, I think they could use it into next winter if they wanted. Which Dodge commercials are you talking about? I can’t recall what their ads were last year.

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