automotive

Jeep Enlists Derek Jeter For Grand Wagoneer Effort

Jeep is launching a campaign for its luxury Grand Wagoneer during the World Series featuring former New York Yankees star player Derek Jeter.

The first 60-second spot in the “Eyes Wide Open” campaign from Chicago-based Highdive broke Friday night during the opening game. The effort includes TV, social and digital media channels, and future print extensions. Additional 30-second and 15-second executions will run across multiple platforms.  

The Stellantis brand signed the long-term deal because the athlete turned businessman is “the perfect embodiment of the American dream,” says Olivier Francois, Stellantis global chief marketing officer.

“We needed a personality that symbolizes American success and American aspiration,” he says. “We wanted to have someone relatable to our customer, someone that they would know, someone relevant to them, someone with a family … the kind of person who authentically could embody our three-row SUV.”

Jeep’s attribute of “authenticity” also needed to be considered, Francois says.

“We wanted someone who's not necessarily a rockstar, a Hollywood star -- you know, not someone over commercialized,” he says, adding that Jeter also has Midwestern roots, having been raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan about two hours from where the Grand Wagoneer is manufactured in Warren, Michigan.

The debut spot shows the Jeter and his wife Hannah in various location in New York City and upstate New York. The Jeter children in the spot are portrayed by actors. The couple does not speak in this spot, but might in future creative, Francois says. 

“Ever wonder why they call it the American Dream…and not the American goal? Or the American plan?” begins the voiceover. "Maybe it’s because in dreams, you can do anything. You can be reborn in the motor city…and rise up in the city that never sleeps."

Both Derek and Hannah Jeter, who is a fashion model and television host, will promote the Grand Wagoneer on their personal social channels, says Nicole Pesale, head of Jeep advertising in the United States.

The automaker doesn’t view them as influencers or celebrity endorsers, she says.

“We really look at them more as partners,” Pesale tells Marketing Daily. “It's been a great communication with them all the way along of: ‘Are there shared values? How can we work together?’ and less of ‘We're paying them to be part of the campaign.’ So it's been a wonderful partnership so far, and that's how we see it moving forward.”

Francois declined to reveal what the automaker is paying the Jeter family for their participation. 

The Grand Wagoneer nameplate had been out of circulation since 1991 before returning in 2021 as a premium extension of the Jeep brand. The 2023 Grand Wagoneer starts at $87,995. The Grand Wagoneer Obsidian version shown in the commercial starts at $104,135.

Texas and New York are both huge markets for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, says Jim Morrison, head of Jeep brand North America.  So breaking the campaign during the World Series, which includes the Houston Astros, is serendipitous, he says. Although he retired from the Yankees as a player in 2014, Jeter remains popular in New York, he adds.

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