Chrysler is waiting for new products to come down the pipeline, and that is a tense wait. But the Auburn Hills, Mich., company has a Rubicon-style rope to cling to in the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The vehicle, the first under the Chrysler/Fiat SpA alliance, is a critical and iconic nameplate in the Jeep lineup. The company is rolling out a new ad campaign for the redesigned SUV, and at one time back in the days when SUV meant truck, one of the top sellers. The new Grand Cherokee is -- like most SUV's these days -- a unibody design, but the company will tout its array of technologies that do things like adjust ground clearance for off-road driving.
The effort is launching with a new spot, via Portland, Ore.-based Wieden+Kennedy, which is handling the launch, although GlobalHue remains AOR. Also new is the Jeep tag-line, "The things we make, make us," replacing, at least for the Grand Cherokee launch, GlobalHue's "I live. I ride. I am."
The anthem spot has a strong American industrial-might feel, with black-and-white shots of trains, and factories, showers of sparks as men hammer away at rivets, and the Wright Brothers flying overhead in an early biplane.
Voiceover says, "The things that make us American are the things we make. This has always been a nation of builders ... as a people we do well when we make good things, not so well when we don't. The good news is, this can be put right ... we just have to do it. So we did."
The footage changes to the new Grand Cherokee splashing through mud and down a dirt road. "This, our newest son, was imagined, drawn, carved, stamped, hewn and forged here, in America. It is well made and it is designed to work. This was once a country where people made things ... beautiful things. And so it is again."
A spokesperson for the Chrysler LLC brand says the second phase launches mid-July. The 60- and 30-second anthem spot launches June 11 on all major networks plus late night network programs like "Nightline," "Letterman," and "The Tonight Show." Buys include early morning shows like "Good Morning America" and morning and evening news programs. "In July you will see a full, comprehensive ad launch including some very interesting non-traditional elements that we can't talk about yet."
Mike Manley, president and CEO of the Jeep brand, explained in his blog that the effort is meant to introduce not just the vehicle but also a reorganization of Chrysler's manufacturing process.
"When I say craftsmanship, I don't mean merely producing widget after widget -- or in the case of the auto industry -- car after car, truck after truck, and SUV after SUV," he wrote. "What has often been absent from many vehicles produced in recent years is what seems to be a sense of personal pride in the product. We know that pride and integrity in manufacturing is directly linked to quality -- or lack of it. Across the entire company and at the Jeep brand ... we've taken this issue head on." He said that Jeep's Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit is the first to benefit.
Wieden+Kennedy is also lead agency on Dodge, having done recent work for the Grand Caravan minivan, and also some just-breaking creative for Dodge Challenger around the FiFA World Cup. That 60-second spot debuts June 12 at 11 p.m., per the company. The spot is timed for the U.S. versus U.K. game and features George Washington in a Challenger, among other Mel Brooks-like anachronisms.