Jeep joins Olympics via USA Basketball sponsorship
Although Jeep doesn't have an advertising partnership with the Olympics, it will still have a major stake in London through its sponsorship of USA Basketball's men's and women's basketball squads.
The partnership has allowed the brand to have a front-row seat as the athletes prepared for their gold-medal journeys.
The "Power Within" advertising campaign -- centered on the 2012 Wrangler Unlimited Altitude edition -- was an all-around effort that included social media, TV spots, digital content and community outreach.
The Wrangler was dubbed the official vehicle of USA Basketball for the promotion. The special-edition Wrangler was designed in honor of the partnership, a Chrysler spokeswoman said.
Jeep's marketing push concludes at the end of July.
On TV, a Jeep commercial featured USA Basketball point guard Chris Paul and a voiceover by rapper/actor Common as a song from his latest album played in the background. Paul is also the spokesman for the partnership.
Meanwhile, the brand's social media strategy relied heavily on audience interaction, including the charitable "6th Man" contest, with people nominating those who make a difference in their communities on Jeep's Facebook page. Jeep gave two winners $20,000 to give to charity.
Kim Adams House, head of Jeep advertising, described the campaign as a "broad 360 degree integration."
The Wrangler "was in our television spot. It was in all of our print and out of home advertising. It was featured online. There was a unique microsite that embodied the entire story of the vehicle along with the partnership," House said in an interview. "There was a lot that tied this partnership together. Being a part of this team as they embark on their journey is really a privilege for us and we were really happy to be a part of it."
House said the brand's core message meshed with USA Basketball. "There is no question or doubt that USA Basketball and Jeep brand have clear alignment. It strongly speaks to American pride."
Fan participation made the campaign tick.
Earlier this summer, Jeep fans were able to customize Wranglers with USA Basketball-related content on the company's microsite, Jeep.com/USAB, for a chance to win a Wrangler. The site is linked to Jeep's Facebook fan page and its official Twitter account.
People were able to pick wheel and tire packages and decals while choosing from several color options, according to the company.
House said a winner has been selected and will receive his customized Wrangler in a few weeks.
In another contest that concludes next week, people can register on the site to win a USA Basketball bag loaded with "swag," a Chrysler spokeswoman said.
Videos on the site showed some of the features of the Wrangler Unlimited Altitude and highlighted the creative process behind the partnership's "When we all believe" logo, which is a hip rendition of the American flag.
House said: "Our digital piece captured behind-the-scenes elements of the partnership at work, really showing the inside story of the collaboration of these two great American icons."
Jeep also celebrated the partnership by working with the World Basketball Festival in Washington this month. Attendees were able to sample the 2012 Wrangler in a ride-and-drive, win prizes in the Jeep "Power Free Throw" game and meet USA Basketball players.
A similar event took place in New York in June.
House said the two winners of the "6th Man" contest exemplified the true character and spirit of the Jeep brand.
Jeep's Facebook fans voted for Steven Diaz, an Iraq war veteran from Colombia, S.C., who was injured by an explosive device in 2005 and now helps fellow veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress in his community; and Cleveland resident Denise Moore-Toth, who prepares and delivers more than 70 meals for the homeless every Saturday.
On July 12, during halftime at a men's basketball exhibition game in Las Vegas, Jeep gave Diaz and Moore-Toth $20,000 each to donate to a favorite charity.
The boys' and girls' basketball teams from Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Detroit, who were in Las Vegas for a Jeep-funded basketball clinic, also attended the July 12 game.
Jeep partnered with the academy this year -- it opened last fall -- and started a mentorship program in which Jeep executives visit the school once a month. The company also committed $100,000 toward scholarships for the high school's first graduating class in 2015 and organized field trips to Chrysler headquarters and the Detroit auto show.
During the clinic, the 25 students were tutored by current USA Basketball superstars Chris Paul and Kevin Durant as well as 1992 Dream Team member Chris Mullin.
"I think it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. The whole trip in general," said Michelle Ruscitti-Miller, executive director of Operation Graduation, the nonprofit arm of the academy. "We had students that had never been on an airplane before."
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