The introduction of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee needed to reach consumers and stand out in a marketplace cluttered with automotive messages. As one of the most recognizable brands in the world, Jeep struggles with becoming a mainstream word that stands for all sports utility vehicles, much like Kleenex does for facial tissues. The launch had to build on the legendary Jeep 4x4 heritage and category leadership and capture consumer and media attention.
Understanding that “because we can” would not be an adequate reason to have a Jeep scaling a New York skyscraper, “Jeep Only Parking” signage was placed at the top of the building to provide consumers and media with the inevitable question of “why?” This parking spot symbolized destinations that can only be commandeered by a Jeep and became the news hook used by the media. It also mirrored Jeeps marketing approach as being both trail-ready tough and in-town comfortable. Putting Jeep above the crowds in Manhattan helped communicate that the vehicle is perfectly at home in urban settings.
This program began with a litany of site inspections, engineering tests, permits, insurance and meetings to secure approvals from the Mayor’s Office and key New York City officials including police and fire department heads. Every conceivable variable from weather to the speed of the Jeep climbing the vehicle was accounted for.
While all the logistical elements were underway, planning began for the production of a live Satellite Media Tour as well as B-roll feed and radio interviews.
Eventually, after in-depth analysis, the Two Penn Plaza building was selected based on its location in the heart of Manhattan, accessibility for media coverage and the steady stream of more than 50,000 commuters that pass by the building everyday.
The October timing of the Jeep Climb demonstration was strategically aligned to kick-off the arrival of the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee at dealerships nationwide as part of Jeep Premiere 2004. Nearly 2,000 Jeep Dealerships across the country that participated in Jeep Premiere events played a looped video of the Jeep Climb throughout the weekend’s festivities.
A web site was developed, with an online video component allowing consumers across the country to watch the stunt live B-roll video via satellite and link directly back to the Jeep brand site for additional information on the vehicle. This facet of the program also provided a great measurement tool, with clear spikes in web traffic resulting from media coverage.
The event was designed to provide a visual that spoke 1,000 words. A photograph from the climb was able to communicate the hallmarks of the Jeep brand and the capability and performance of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Several senior executives from Chrysler Group were on-site at the event, including Joe Eberhardt, Executive Vice President, Chrysler Group and Jeff Bell, Vice President of Jeep. Having executives present allowed us to reach business media, including CNBC Squawk Box, and conduct a Satellite Media Tour with television and radio hits across the country.
Media were teased with e-mails for a week leading up to the Jeep Climb without revealing specific details of the exhibition and a general media alert was distributed to news assignment desks the week prior to the event. Just days before the event, a media alert was dropped containing additional details on the “climbing” nature of the stunt, but no information on how the feat would be executed.
An official press release with photo was released at 11:00am EST the morning of the event; on the day of the climb print, television and radio outlets received “man-on-the-street” calls by commuters passing by the Jeep as it appeared to be driving up the side of the building. A Satellite Media Tour, featuring Joe Eberhardt, took place from the foot of the climb. And a B-roll package featuring compelling visuals from the Jeep Climb was fed via satellite a total of four times for television stations to pull down images for their own broadcasts.
Jeep Climb generated more than 58 million media impressions including television coverage resulting in more than 21 million total impressions; 178 total television story placements; coverage ran in 42 of top 50 markets in the United States; satellite Media Tour generated 438,262 impressions; B-roll impressions totaling 14,240,413; national television placements: FOX News National, CNBC (Squawk Box, Street Signs, Power Lunch, Morning Call, Closing Bell), ABC World News Now
The print coverage resulted in more than 10 million impressions including; 92 print placements to date; print placements in major publications: New York Post, New York Daily News, InTouch Magazine, Detroit Free Press, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post
Radio coverage resulted in more than 26 million impressions including; audio News Release generated 24,983,086 impressions and placements on 646 radio stations; individually booked radio interviews resulting in 1,638,700 impressions and 458 placements
Internet coverage included: 12 online placements including CBSMarketWatch.com, Yahoo!News Photo Highlight Slideshow and Chicago Tribune online and the www.Jeep.com/Climb web cam received more than 35,000 hits on the day of the climb