the ad harley should have made

jeep would settle for just a little respect

As The Motor Company continues to lurch from marketing pillar to advertising post, this new message for Jeep Chrysler nicely summons the Zeitgeist Harley historically fails to communicate. The 60-second ad from Wieden+Kennedy (Nike) introduces Jeep’s new slogan, “The Things We Make, Make Us.” Wow. Perfect. And perfectly positioned.

There’s nothing – art, editing, sound – that doesn’t mesh seamlessly, but copywriting gets a special shoutout for succinct, emotionally charged and dripping with imagery precision. Reminiscent of late ad icon Hal Riney without being overly obvious.

More piling on. The message injects a closing emphasis on new tech, arguing the promise of not just reliability but brand new thinking from the ground up. And styling. (Note the half-second closeup of finely stitched upholstery and the steering wheel quick cut.)

It’s just not enough for H-D to barf out meaningless slogans that are imagined by the tassle loafered crowd to sound tough but instead just sound silly. “Screw It, Let’s Ride” is forever the perfect example of a lazy translation accidentally overheard before being neutered for home consumption. W+K’s handsome effort for another struggling market proves old dogs can do new tricks.

Now the fine print. Would I buy a Jeep? Not if I listened to my neighbor, whose continuing transmission adventures with his Cherokee could frame a t.v. reality show. And there’s still that bailout thing. But the goal was to cast a stagnant brand in a new light. Mission accomplished. “Well made. Designed to work.” It’s a solid first step on a long road back from the brink.

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