DETROIT -- In mid-month, the Jeep brand will target 11,000 civics teachers nationwide in a bid to promote U.S. history and the Jeep Commander SUV.
Jeep is reaching out to seventh-grade teachers with a "Jeep Commander in History" program. Jeep will distribute material on U.S. presidential history and the four presidents depicted on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
The package is being mailed to 8,000 teachers and e-mailed to 3,000 others. It includes classroom discussion topics and activities, and entry forms for a student essay contest.
"Jeep has been there through a lot of different parts of American history, so we thought it was a good connection," says Lou Bitonti, Jeep advertising manager.
The Jeep logo appears on the material mailed to teachers. But there is no photo of the Commander SUV or any vehicle, says Carrie McElwee, Chrysler group spokeswoman.
The "Jeep Commander in History" Web site includes the Jeep logo above Mount Rushmore and a photo of the Commander. The 11,000 targeted teachers work in Jeep's top 35 markets spread over 17 states, Bitonti says.
The program information is available nationally via the Web site.
Jeep promotional material says the classroom program is designed "to encourage America's youth to take an earnest interest in our national's deep history and the legacy of our founding fathers."
The classroom material being sent to teachers was developed by Young Minds Inspired, a nonprofit educational organization, McElwee says. For example, one activity suggests having students choose the five most effective presidents and defend their choices.
The Jeep Commander in History program links the 65th anniversary of Mount Rushmore and the Jeep brand in 2006. The student essay contest winner will be awarded a family vacation for as many as seven people to Mount Rushmore. The Commander seats seven.
Jeep will not disclose spending. "It is not a large amount," Bitonti says.
Jeep began selling the Commander in September.