Buddy crashes his car… and Jeep (and VW) fail to take advantage of the opportunity.

April 24, 2014

People make mistakes. Accidents are not uncommon (even in this day and age).

Imagine you’re the car manufacturer whose vehicle is smashed – accidentally and with no appearance of poor conduct – by the biggest AFL player in the land. Imagine then, that the only reason he’s driving your car is because you’ve signed his Miss Universe girlfriend up as an ambassador. You’ve just got a bucket load of product publicity, but is that a good thing? How should you respond?

Hopefully not like this:

“Pending the outcome of the police investigation and discussions with Jesinta and her management, we will then decide our relationship moving forward”*

This is how a Fiat Chrysler Group Australia spokeswoman responded because of the ‘negative publicity’ that Jeep received.

Why not take a deep breath, and say … let’s focus our attention on the people who have had their cars accidently ruined and get some real mileage for our brand. This incident will no doubt have caused some anxiety for those people, so let’s encourage them - in their busy and stressful urban lives - to hit the eject button on the long weekend to get out to do some exploration in a Cherokee that we’ll lend them until their cars get fixed/replaced under that footballer’s insurance policy. Let’s use the opportunity to talk about exploration and what our brand is all about in the public spotlight. After all, the Sydney based football team he plays for are playing interstate this week – so there’s no harm in giving a few unfortunate Sydney siders the opportunity to get out and explore.

I’ve got to say, for all the good that can come out of producing one of the better ads in 2013 … you sometimes feel for those who put in the hard yards when opportunities like this are missed.

If it makes the folk at Jeep feel any better, it’s worthwhile noting that VW may have also missed out, given they sponsor the football club of the biggest name in the country. Not a bad little opportunity for them either.