Jeep is introducing the 2011 Grand Cherokee and it seems it is quite a vehicle:
“The newest generation of Jeep’s iconic luxury SUV can still rock-crawl with the best of them, but it looks a whole lot nicer doing it, both inside and out.” AutoWeek 7/5/10
The new advertising is impressive and seeks to re-invigorate some distinctly American values:
Let’s face it, as Americans we are feeling a little down. The worst recession in generations is a big part of the problem. Nagging unemployment, a recovery that is sputtering and concern over the looming deficit are not helping.
So I think Jeep’s strategy of appealing to values we all hold dear makes some sense. What American isn’t proud of our heritage as a “nation of builders, craftsmen, men and women for whom straight stitches and clean welds are a matter of pride.” We built the railroads, invented the airplane, built the Empire State Building, and created the original Jeep.
The idea that “the things that make us American are the things we make” strikes an emotional cord. A cord that makes us feel proud, and right now a little pride would help. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is something we can all be proud of because it was “imagined, drawn, carved, stamped, hewn and forged here in America.”
Powerful stuff, beautifully executed, leaves the viewer saying “yeah, bring it on.”
Only two things bother me about this commercial.
First what happened to the Jeep brand? Where is the go anywhere do anything in a Jeep idea? Isn’t that an essential part of the Jeep brand? AutoWeek seems to think so, in their review of the vehicle, they reference the fact that the Grand Cherokee can “rock crawl with the best them.” I recognize that the vast majority of SUV owners never go off-road, but knowing that you can take on anything in a Jeep seems an essential part of the brand’s promise.
The second thing that created dissonance for me was learning that the Grand Cherokee was built on the current M-Class platform from Mercedes-Benz.
“A lot of the new five-seat, two-row Grand Cherokee chassis is shared with Mercedes’ next-generation ML-Class SUV – a byproduct of development that began under the DaimlerChrysler regime.” AOL Autos 7/11/10
It turns out that the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee was “imagined” and “drawn” when Daimler owned Chrysler. While I’m sure the Grand Cherokee was conceived and ultimately built in America, they chose to use a platform originally engineered in Germany.
Let’s not debate whether the advertising is factually accurate; I’m sure it follows the letter of the law.
The problem is that when you wave the flag in advertising and ask us to emotionally rally round it because this Jeep is American made, it feels a little smarmy when you learn that it’s not exactly the case.