Maybe I’m not cool enough to understand? Maybe Jeep’s marketing department is phoning it in, knowing that their precious little 4x4s are selling well enough that nobody cares about their ads? I don’t know.
What I do know is that today we have a pair of Jeep ads that, on the surface, seem fine enough. But when you really look at them you start to see that they’re deeply flawed.
First, we’ll start with this ad for the Jeep Liberty from March of 2008:
Okay, the ad itself is cute enough. I get it: You’re going to totally take your Liberty out into the forest every weekend and even the animals will think you have a cool ride. That part’s okay.
But then we get this URL at the bottom of the text:
Jeep.com/sessions? Sessions of what? Sessions of going out in the forest? Hunting sessions? Jeff Sessions?
What does the word “sessions” have to do with anything in this ad? The text touts the features of the car, not specifically anything about frequent driving sessions. In fact, the word “sessions” appears absolutely no place else in the ad — it’s only in the URL.
My brain hurts trying to figure this out.
Anyway, let’s look at Jeep.com/sessions today:
Not surprising, Jeep.com/sessions returns a Page Not Found error today. Jeep has a history of failed web management in this project, so this, sadly, is expected.
I will, however, reiterate that Jeep.com has one of the prettier Page Not Found pages out there. It’s not a bad place to get stuck.
Let’s move on.
Here’s an older ad from June of 1999:
The ad is for a “Camp Jeep 1999” that’s apparently open to only Jeep vehicles but you can stuff as many people in your car for a single entrance fee of $225. Kinda sounds like fun, actually.
And, haha, the ad is so clever because it shows tracks from a bird and from an otter and from a human, specifically the “North American Jeep Vehicle Owner.”
But think about this for a second. Shouldn’t that track look like a tire tread? The fact that it’s a boot print suggests that, what, your Jeep broke down and you had to hoof it back to the camp?
I guess it’s supposed to make the Jeep owner look “outdoorsy,” but it’s still a wildly mixed message. I’m seriously surprised that this made it through however many layers of approval these things go through.
Okay, so what about the website?
We’ve seen JeepUnpaved.com before and it didn’t end well. That doesn’t make us very optimistic about JeepUnpaved.com/camp_jeep:
That big white space would look familiar if you read the previous JeepUnpaved article. It’s because Jeep isn’t doing anything with the domain, even though they still own it.
There are just so many layers of so much fail in these two ads. If someone wants to explain Jeep’s logic to me, I’m ready to listen. But for now, I just don’t get it.
(Quick note: This screengrab of JeepUnpaved.com/camp_jeep was taken on February 20, 2021, unlike most screengrabs in this project that are from June 2020. That’s because, when I initially logged this ad, I had the URL listed as Jeep.com/camp_jeep, which returns the same type of Page Not Found page we saw in the /sessions ad above.)