JEEP'S SKI CHALLENGE LANDS AT CBS;CHRYSLER UNIT, ECLIPSE MARKETING TO SELL TV AD TIME

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Jeep thinks it's better to invent an event than buy into one.

The Jeep King of the Mountain downhill skiing challenge, created by the Chrysler Corp. division with Eclipse Marketing, Vail, Colo., and syndicated by Eclipse for the past three years, will move to CBS this season.

The event kicks off Dec. 7 at Mammoth, Calif., and runs through five races with 12 well-known international downhillers. It ends in March at Vail.

The challenge started out as a single race in Aspen, Colo.

`SKIING INDEXES GREAT'

"We created the event and we have ownership of it," said Jeep's Lou Bitonti, direct marketing executive. "Skiing indexes great compared to our demographics."

Rob Correa, VP-programming, CBS Sports, said Eclipse bought the five 1-hour slots for each of the races this season. He declined to reveal the price, but an executive close to the deal said it totaled a bit over $1 million.

Jeep and Eclipse will sell ad time to Coca-Cola, AT&T, Visa, Hawaiian Tropic and Goodyear Tire & Rubber. Several of the advertisers have also signed up for the expo at each of the five ski areas. The expos offer consumer interactions via hospitality tents, product displays and giveaways.

ANOTHER EVENT FOR JEEP

Jeep this year also is involved in another Eclipse event called UnVailed. The brand will be the presenting sponsor for the alternative music and snowboard promotion, which debuted in March.

Sam Goody is a partner, using its 900 Sam Goody and Musicland stores to search for the best unsigned band. There will be eight regional battles of bands. Four semifinalists will go to Vail in late March for the finals, where there's also snowboard competitions.

The finals will include a film festival as well, said Henry Schneidman, president of Eclipse. He added he's negotiating now with two snowboard manufacturers for a sponsorship slot.

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