DETROIT — Jeep kicked off the NFL season Thursday with a new ad for the versatile Gladiator pickup.
"Seats," which aired during the game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, was created in partnership with Jeep and DDB Chicago. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said the 60-second ad speaks to the "restless" people who "can hardly sit still, who need to move, roar and ride." In classic Jeep fashion, the brand highlights the truck's off-road chops and towing capability.
A spokeswoman said the production is the first 60-second spot dedicated to the Gladiator since its spring launch. The Gladiator tallied 7,252 U.S. sales through June, and captured an estimated 7.7 percent of the midsize pickup market in its first full month on dealership lots, according to Automotive News Data Center estimates.
Going into the NFL season, FCA will have to pick its spots during games to counter Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet, the leading TV ad spenders during last year's NFL regular season, according to research firm Kantar.
Analytics firm EDO said those three had the strongest "search engagement volume" generated by their ad airings. EDO says it measures the lift in online search volume for a brand in response to an individual ad airing on linear national broadcast TV. EDO says its data scientists then compare the baseline level of search for the brand in the period before and after the ad airs.
Jeep's ad push during the NFL's first game of the season is the latest in a string of attempts to make waves in what was a slower year through June, as the brand's sales were down 8 percent in the first half of the year. FCA now reports sales quarterly.
Jeep got a prime-time push last month on NBC's "Songland," a songwriting competition series, where contestants vied to have their song used in a Jeep commercial. While the show is about music, the "Songland" partnership also was a way to highlight the brand's youthful, free-spirited values.
Jeep had a digital blitz in the days leading up to the Super Bowl this year with two spots that didn't run during the game. FCA didn't have any in-game spots this year.
"A good product is king," Olivier Francois, FCA's global marketing chief, told Automotive News Thursday, "but if it's served by stories that are going to engage, [and] going to get your attention, that's even better."