60-Year-Old Vehicle Gets First-Ever Logo for Upcoming Campaign

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DETROIT ( -- Chrysler Group wants to refocus Jeep's go-anywhere image in a new ad campaign demonstrating the brand's off-road capabilities.

The work, arriving Sept. 9 on national broadcast and cable TV, also introduces the first Jeep brand logo in its 60-year history. The logo shows the seven vertical slats of a Jeep grille with the words from the new tagline "Only in a Jeep." That theme had been used from the 1984 through 1989 model years and will replace the current tagline, "There's only one," which debuted in 1991.

'Not an SUV'
"Jeep lost its focus," Jeep Vice President Jeff Bell told "We are not an SUV. We are a four-by-four."

Mr. Bell, who oversees

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the Jeep division, said he wasn't a fan of last summer's Jeep Liberty launch ads. Several of the spots put the sport utility vehicle in urban settings.

Most of the five new 30-second commercials show Jeeps off-roading. Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, Troy, Mich., created three spots. In one dramatic spot, four Jeeps drive up a mountainside to replace a guardrail blown away by lightning to allow a female motorist to safely pass the wet mountain road.

Urban hipsters
But the Liberty is seen on-road in one of two spots. The "Underground" spot from Interpublic Group of Cos.' GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich., is aimed at urban hipsters. The Liberty travels down a dark tunnel, with cutaways to young people dancing to hip hop music at a club.

Print arrives in November titles. BBDO worked up dramatic black-and-white shots of Jeeps in action. One shows a Wrangler up to its headlights in a fast-moving stream with the headline "Warning: Use cupholders at your own risk."

Mr. Bell said Jeep's ad budget is remaining flat in 2003 compared with 2002, but that he plans to maximize the dollars by using more targeted media. Jeep spent $241 million in 2001 and $117 million in the first half of 2002, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

World War II
Jeep's heritage goes back to World War II. But the brand has gotten increased competition as more SUVs enter the segment. Jeep's legendary grille was the subject of a 2001 lawsuit in which Chrysler sued General Motors Corp. Chrysler claimed GM's grille on the Hummer H2 model too closely resembled the Jeep Liberty's, for which it has a trademark. But last spring, a federal judge denied Chrysler's call for an injunction against GM.

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