Jeep in hot water over ad with SUV romping in wild waters
RENO, Nev. (AP) — The head of one of the nation’s largest fish conservation groups says Fiat Chrysler’s 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 that one ad gave the impression a Jeep Cherokee was splashing down the middle of a wild streambed.
Fiat Chrysler is defending the ads but says there are no plans to run them again. It says the spot with the Cherokee was shot on a flooded county road and another with a Jeep Wrangler was filmed 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-thousandpound 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 decadeslong efforts to protect endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest, where research shows riverbank disturbances and sedimentation chokes off fish eggs.