Jeep Is Latest Brand to Invite Consumers Into Ad Creation

Online Film, Print Work for Liberty Made to Be Played With

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DETROIT ( -- To introduce its new Patriot SUV, Jeep is using do-it-yourself advertising.

One Jeep full-page spread contains an insert with stickers of the Patriot, people, clothing and gear that readers can place to create their own ad.
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The Chrysler Group brand is inviting consumers to help create its ads -- both print and online -- in an effort to engage, entertain and, most importantly, drive traffic to a new website where the SUV's features are revealed as part of an interactive plot, said Jay Kuhnie, communications director for the brand.

Treasure hunt
Omnicom Group's Organic, San Francisco and Bloomfield Hills, Mich., developed a choose-your-own-adventure online film, which revolves around three friends in search of a treasure. Omnicm sibling BBDO created TV spots and print ads featuring the same three friends. All the creative breaks March 15.

At, visitors become the fourth member of the group. "You, as a player, make decisions about how the scenes unfold," said Mr. Kuhnie. Visitors can choose from 44 different short scenes that affect the development the adventure film "The Way-Beyond Trail." Each player has the option of providing the name and e-mail of a friend to be an "emergency contact" who can then help the player escape from the adventure's built-in dead ends.

Print ads feature executions that allow readers to connect either red or blue dots -- with each color yielding a different backdrop scene for the Patriot. Another full-page spread contains an insert with stickers of the Patriot, people, clothing and gear that readers can place to create their own ad.

Beefing up online
To reach its youthful 22- to 30-year-old target market for the Patriot, the automaker's first entry-level Jeep, Chrysler is beefing up online ad spending by about 10% vs. its other model introductions; online will comprise about 25% of the entire launch budget. Mr. Kuhnie said TV is still 55% of the mix but is "down significantly" from other prior blitzes.

Of the $303 million Jeep spent in all measured media last year, $231 million was in TV, including $16 million in Spanish-language TV, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich., created Patriot's Hispanic work, which includes Spanish-language TV spots arriving in April as well as English and Spanish print. Omnicom's PHD, Troy, Mich., handles media.

Could hurt Compass sales
Jeep said roughly 20,000 visitors to have already requested more information about the Patriot, which starts at $14,985. The Patriot is Jeep's seventh model, marking a line expansion from just three in 2004. The model gives Jeep its broadest lineup in its 66-year history. Auto experts cautioned that the Patriot could hurt sales of the Compass compact SUV, Jeep's first front-wheel-drive model, which is positioned as an urban vehicle.

In the first two months of 2007, Jeep said it sold 73,137 vehicles, or 5% more than the year-ago period. Jeep sold 460,052 units last year in the U.S., 3% fewer than the 476,532 sold in 2005, according to the automaker. Jeep's peak year was 1999, when it sold more than 544,000 vehicles. There were fewer SUV competitors then, and sales of large and midsize SUVs suffered last year due to high gas prices.

Separately, Mr. Kuhnie said Jeep expects to make a decision by the end of the month for a Jeep brand assignment after a pitch of select shops within Omnicom.
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