2011 Jeep Wrangler MojaveEnlarge Photo
Cooking is an inherently tricky business. Too much of one ingredient or too little of another, and the meal is a washout.
Moreover, being consistent while cooking ... no, correct that, being consistently good ... is a very difficult thing. And I should know, as I am the designated chef in the house cooking most meals. My children’s concept of cooking is akin to potion making with a gallon of soy sauce and all the brown sugar and soup mix they can find. Worse, my wife’s default go-to meal when she wants to cook is melting cheese on corn. Heaven help me, it’s a definite sign of the Apocalypse.
Much like cooking, automotive marketing is a tricky business and there are so many examples of “bad cooking” that I can’t even begin to list them. Although that Lancia ad with Richard Gere made me want to hurl, it was so sanctimonious. The painfully wooden Kobe Bryant in a recent Smart commercial left me with a red mark on my forehead from slapping it with my hand in disgust. Or you think of Hulk Hogan and LoanMart.com because when you think easy car loans, you think over-the-hill steroid monster. Uh, yeah.
And now Jeep and its eternal Wrangler have a new spokesman in Lenny Kravitz. What does a macho, mud-runner with ancient technology, the aerodynamics of a brick and the comfort of a penalty box have to do with a dude so cool, so talented and so hip that women, men, children and woodland creatures gush over him? Turns out, he’s a long-time Jeep owner. Sixteen years, no less. Maybe it is a good recipe.
Now let’s go to the commercial. According to the YouTube channel, it features the song "Rock Star City Life" from Lenny Kravitz's upcoming album "Black and White America." (There, I gave a free plug.)
OK, thanks for that info, but isn’t this a car ad? It’s either an ad for Jeep or a music video pumping Lenny’s latest tune. The message seems a bit muddled. The song is good, but I don’t know if I should run out and buy a Jeep or download a Lenny Kravitz album off iTunes.
Associating Lenny with the brand is a good thing as the cool factor does rub off. Lenny looks mean. Or bored, or whatever cool people look like. The opposite of me, essentially. The ad showcases the uniquely famous off-road talents of the Jeep in situations 95 percent of owners would never be in because they don't know what 4WD Lo means.
But at least you can dare to dream. The ad is filmed well enough and edited to match the music, mostly if you don’t count the Kravitz Death Stare, but it doesn’t have the right taste to it. For some reason, all I could think of was Kravitz’s gem “Fly Away” - and not with this vehicle.
Good luck Jeep, keep working on the recipe.
[Automotive News (subscription required)]