Jeep in hot wa­ter over ad show­ing SUV romp­ing through river

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

RENO, NEV. » The head of one of the na­tion’s largest fish con­ser­va­tion groups says Fiat Chrysler Su­per Bowl ads “glo­ri­fied” the de­struc­tion of aquatic habi­tat in an ap­par­ent at­tempt to ap­peal to off-road thrill seek­ers.

It’s the sec­ond time ads by the au­tomaker have drawn com­plaints since the Feb. 4 game.

Trout Un­lim­ited Pres­i­dent and CEO Chris Wood said Wed­nes­day one ad gave the im­pres­sion a Jeep Chero­kee was splash­ing down the mid­dle of a wild stream bed.

Fiat Chrysler is de­fend­ing the ads but says there are no plans to run them again. It says one spot was shot on a flooded county road and an­other in a man-made lake with a man-made wa­ter­fall on pri­vate land.

Wood said many of his group’s 300,000 mem­bers and sup­port­ers own Jeeps, but the images were up­set­ting.

“Fish are tough and re­silient crit­ters, but they don’t do well with sev­eral-thou­sand-pound ve­hi­cles driv­ing over their spawn­ing grounds, tear­ing up the gravel where they lay eggs,” he said. “Why some­one would want to put out the idea that you should buy a Jeep so you could drive it up a creek is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to me.”

The Reno Gazette-Jour­nal first re­ported the ad flap last week. Pam Har­ring­ton, Trout Un­lim­ited’s Ne­vada field co­or­di­na­tor, told the news­pa­per she was up­set be­cause she’s worked with ATV clubs in Idaho re­pair­ing dam­age caused by ir­re­spon­si­ble driv­ers.

Stream habi­tat im­prove­ments are part of the decades-long ef­forts to pro­tect en­dan­gered sal­mon in the Pa­cific North­west, where re­search shows river-bank dis­tur­bances and sed­i­men­ta­tion chokes off fish eggs.

Wood said he didn’t learn un­til this week that much of his mem­ber­ship was up­set over the Jeep ads. He said he’d al­ready writ­ten a per­sonal let­ter of com­plaint Feb. 6 to Fiat Chrysler CEO and chair­man Ser­gio Mar­chionne af­ter Wood’s son no­ticed the ad dur­ing the game.

Diane Mor­gan, FCA’s head of mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion, didn’t iden­tify where the ad was shot on the county road that “ex­pe­ri­ences sea­son­able runoff” but said the other was on pri­vate land in the south­west United States.

The au­tomaker came un­der fire last week for an­other Su­per Bowl ad featuring a Ram pickup set against au­dio of “The Drum Ma­jor In­stinct” ser­mon de­liv­ered by Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago.

The 60-sec­ond spot in­cluded images of the truck with peo­ple help­ing oth­ers and hug­ging loved ones. Crit­ics said it omit­ted King’s words in the same speech guard­ing against ad­ver­tis­ers ex­ploit­ing con­sumers, in­clud­ing: “In or­der to make your neigh­bors en­vi­ous you must drive this type of car.”

A com­pany spokes­woman said that ad “was sell­ing the mes­sage of serv­ing in your com­mu­nity.”

Wood said FCA ap­par­ently “got some bad mar­ket­ing ad­vice” on the Jeep cam­paign. He said there are plans to con­nect with a Jeep branch rep­re­sen­ta­tive for a “broader con­ver­sa­tion.”


This im­age made video ob­tained from the Jeep brand YouTube channel of Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles shows part of its com­mer­cial video aired dur­ing the Su­per Bowl on Sun­day, Feb. 4.

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