AdSpotting: Jeep Compass "Bloodlines" has a steep hill to climb
Company: Chrysler LLC
Ad Agency: GlobalHue
Product: 2011 Jeep Compass
What We Like: The editing and look of the ad fits with the excellent Jeep Grand Cherokee ads that agency Wieden & Kennedy created last year. There is an urban feel to this TV spot that is probably fitting for a vehicle like Compass, which has not had much positive said or written about since it first hit showrooms in 2007. There is authority, emotion and value in the Jeep brand, and re-igniting that for consumers is a good idea.
What We Don't Like: Now for the bad news. For people who know Jeep and the Compass, not to mention the new Hawaii Five-O TV show, this ad has a lot of problems. For sure, the Compass has been much improved for the 2011 model year. We are not only impressed with what the new Chrysler team managed with a new interior and trim, but with how we were able to crawl snow-covered creek beds in Wyoming when we tested the new car. But the bones of this vehicle are highly suspect to the real Jeep fan and student of the brand. "Iconic beauty," reads the voiceover in the ad. "A legendary bloodline." To people who know something about the Compass, that is way, way, way over the top. There isn't anything in common between the Compass and the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is a terrific piece of work, except the logo and some talented, passionate engineers who did the best they could with the marginal vehicle they started with.
And in making the "Bloodlines" case... Laila Ali? Seriously? And actor Scott Caan? Not only are these two figures the barest shadows of their fathers (wait...maybe they do work for this ad), but in the only role Scott Caan is really known for (with respect to the reborn Oceans franchise, we're talking about the new Hawaii Five-O), he is completely linked to a Chevy Camaro, part of the product placement deal General Motors worked out, which has Chevrolet vehicles all over the show. In one recent show, both Caan and the bad guy were driving Camaros. And Caan's character, Danno, would never be caught driving a Compass.
Strategy: Play up the brand equity of the Jeep brand for all the products even if some of the current products don't measure up. We can see how the company and agency arrived at this idea. After all, they have to sell the Compass for another 16 months or so until an all-new vehicles come in to replace it. The Compass has had very little cred in the marketplace, especially with repeat Jeep buyers. This may be the only way to juice up sales a little for the rest of the time it is marketed. The new Compass is much improved, and should get a more serious look from would-be Subaru Legacy buyers. But the halo placed on this model is a bit too much for us.
Watch the commercial after the jump and give it your own grade below.