Just about the time Republicans and Democrats will likely be yelling over who won tonight's presidential debate, Jeep will run an ad that, perhaps impossibly, seeks to unite the country.
The ad, called "Free to Be," spotlights people with different political persuasions and lifestyles -- such as meat-eaters and vegetarians -- before ending with the message "what unites us is stronger than what divides us." The soundtrack is "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out," by the former Cat Stevens, who now goes by the name Yusuf.
The ad -- which spotlights the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit and Trailhawk models -- is by Dentsu-owned McGarryBowen. The agency is a roster shop for Jeep-owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, but has mostly worked on the smaller Maserati brand. So the Jeep spot represents a significant new assignment for the agency and is expected to be followed by similarly themed ads. Jeep's lead agency is DDB, Chicago. The Omnicom shop's status has not changed, according to a Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman.
The ad will debut during tonight's episode of "The Big Bang Theory" on CBS. But it will run again during post-debate coverage on networks including Fox News and MSNBC.
"We envisioned one singular, yet fully cohesive campaign instead of two for our new 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit and Trailhawk models," Olivier Francois, global chief marketing officer for FCA, said in a statement. "The Summit model represents the hallmark of 'beautiful luxury' while the Trailhawk's interpretation is rooted in 'beautiful capability'. This story speaks to the freedom of choice that we offer to consumers."
He added: "Our 'Free to Be' message embraces two important core tenants of the brand, freedom and adventure, that any Jeep brand marketing campaign is intended to deliver. 'What unites us is stronger than what divides us' is the human-centric message that ties the vehicles and our story together. What better platform to premiere this message of unity than during a moment of such cultural significance?"
Jeep joins brands including Tecate and Audi that are debuting politically themed spots tonight in hopes of seizing on a debate audience that experts project could draw 80 million viewers or more. As opposed to Jeep's unity ad, Audi's spot uses a conflict tone, featuring two hotel valets dueling to get behind the wheel of an Audi RS 7. Tecate, meanwhile, took on the controversial issue of Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall between U.S. and Mexico.