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Jeep Cherokee Spot Pitches Cure for Adulthood Doldrums

Ad Light on Product, Heavy on Storytelling

By Published on . 1

Chrysler nominates the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee as the cure for a mid-life crisis in a new campaign breaking Monday night from Wieden & Kennedy.

Jeep is bringing back the Cherokee badge for the first time in 12 years to compete with the likes of Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4 and CRV. Those SUV's are popular with young parents who want to feel adventurous -- without giving up and buying a mini-van.

Jeep and Wieden play on the feeling of walls closing in via a new "Built Free" TV commercial breaking tonight.

Set to a song by Bob Dylan, the 60-second spot opens with shots of happy children enjoying the limitless possibilities of youth. As they get older, reality sets in. We see these former Peter Pans sighing from boredom in the office. Or gazing listlessly at computer screens in their cubicles.

"And little by little it changed. People told you things. Where to go. What to do. What not to do. Little by little, the world started to feel smaller," notes a voiceover. "Only, it isn't. You're still here. And you're still you. The horizons haven't gone anywhere."

Cue the images of the new Cherokee, with up-tempo shots of people surfing, hiking and camping. In a statement, Chrysler CMO Olivier Francois noted "the 'Built Free' campaign serves as a reminder that we can fulfill our daily responsibilities and still follow our innate desire to explore new and different experiences."

Kim Adams House, head of Jeep Brand Advertising, said the campaign takes a story-telling approach: "The campaign aligns with the brand. And it speaks to some basic desires of exploration, discovery, creating new experiences and memories."

As a replacement for the Jeep Liberty, the new Cherokee hits dealers this month at a starting price of $22,995. Chrysler has plotted out an extensive TV, print and digital strategy designed to get consumers interested in the new vehicle, she said.

The new 60-second spot is scheduled to run tonight on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, TNT, NBC Sports and Fox Sports 1. Another 30-second is slated to debut Nov. 11 on Discovery, E!, Bravo, History Channel, AMC, HGTV, National Geographic and USA.

There will also be in-theater ads starting Nov. 29 around release of the new Ben Stiller movie, "The Secret Life of Water Mitty."

On the print side, Jeep Cherokee ads will appear in monthly magazines such as Details, GQ, Wired, Marie Claire, InStyle, Outside, Men's Fitness and Shape. For digital, Jeep is partnering with Facebook, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Fantasy Football and the Weather Channel, Xbox and Yahoo! Fantasy Football. An online video series dubbed "Tales of the Trailhawk" will showcase the new Cherokee's 4X4 capabilities.

Mrs. House declined to comment on whether Cherokee will advertise during Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII. Chrysler's Super Bowl ad plans are "still under lock and key," she said.

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