New Chrysler's New Push Is All About Social Web

Chrysler LLC's new marketing push for the just-launched 2008 Liberty compact SUV reflects the extent to which the division is shifting marketing heft into interactive.

The company is in the process of launching a program called Jeep 2.0, its effort to engage fans via social networks like YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and its own Jeep Experience section on its consumer Web site.

The campaign for Liberty features traditional TV spots, but leans heavily on what might be called agnostic video content running at a plethora of Web sites and TV. The company says more than a quarter of the campaign spend is on interactive media.

Via Jeep's newish agency, Cutwater, San Francisco, the effort also features the relatively new tag line, "Have Fun Out There," and kicked off with TV ads last week during premieres of "Law & Order SVU," "The Office," "New Amsterdam" and "Desperate Housewives."

The interactive element traverses the Internet and television. There will be online ads on portals like Yahoo, AOL and MSN, with ads using Google's contextual targeting, behavioral targeting on AOL, and placements on sites like Evite, TripAdvisor, Fox Sports, Daily Candy and the health and fitness sections of MSN and AOL.

There is also a virtual test drive developed by the buff books Motor Trend and Automobile and hosted on their sites. As it has done in the past with the launches of its Compass and Patriot vehicles, Jeep is also running video on Onion News Network, and on TMZ.com. Also, MSN instant messenger users can configure a Jeep Liberty "agent" or avatar.

And there's more: Jeep is also doing an online fantasy football sponsorship at SI.com with a print component. Liberty will also advertise on new free music-download site, Spiral Frog.

A new TV spot, which starts airing in October, showcases the vehicle's Sky Slider feature--a large moon roof--by having a couple of birds, a squirrel and a wolf leap through the top and warble a certain '70s-era hit. The ad will drive consumers to the Liberty micro site at Jeep.com, where the animals each sing about specific Liberty features.

A viral element at the site lets visitors download the songs and use them to send around a personalized invitation. The recipients get greeted by name by the animals, with the wolf directing them to the campaign site, redesigned this summer to host rich-media offerings like video vignettes.

Jay Kuhnie, director of Jeep communications, says the effort is deliberately skewed male.

"We are targeting younger people getting more serious in their life, married, perhaps with their first children," he says. "However, the difference will be that we think the new Liberty will be more appealing to a male audience than the previous version."

About 58% of buyers of the current version of the vehicle are women, he says.

"Our research tells us women like the new Liberty as well, but we think we will gain more men," he says.

In traditional media, Liberty will have promotional relationships with the ABC show "Men in Trees," in which the vehicle will appear in the story line. Product placement is handled by LA-based Hadler PR.

Liberty will also be promoted at events like Jeep World of Adventure Sports, Jeep King of the Mountain and ESPN's Winter X Games. It will also be the focus vehicle in both Warren Miller and TGR film tours.

Media rotation includes the Army/Navy game of which Jeep is a sponsor; CBS college football and NFL; and ESPN college bowl games, and on cable.

The effort includes three print ads in November issues of a host of style, fitness, sportventure and personal escape books like Backpacker, Best Life, Bicycling, Entertainment Weekly, and GQ, among a bunch of others.

The Jeep Liberty campaign will include African-American and Hispanic market efforts. The African-American television and print campaign is called "Tai Chi" and highlights how the Liberty allows consumers to escape daily pressures and find peace of mind.

Television spots will air on BET and Telemundo. Print ads will be featured in publications such as Dub, Rides, Automundo, Black Enterprise, Maxim en Español, Ebony, Jet, People in Español, ESPN Deportes, Essence, Estylo and Latina.

Kuhnie says Jeep is cross-promoting Liberty with ski maker Rossignol, skateboarder Tony Hawk and snowboard Olympic champ Shaun White, both of whom appeared at this year's Camp Jeep.