The Jeep brand suspended traffic on an unassuming city street in Vancouver, amazing city-dwellers by taking unsuspecting drivers by surprise by converting an entire block into a forest with a wild mountain river, brought to life with snowbanks, boulders, rocks, sand/gravel, moss, live fir trees and two wolves. The unique approach was accomplished to introduce drivers to the versatility and real-world capability of the Jeep Cherokee.
The :30 "River in the City" commercial, which debuted on television this past weekend (January 4), unfolds as unsuspecting drivers were recruited to test the Jeep Cherokee by following directions from its navigation system throughout downtown Vancouver. Following the detour, the directions soon led them to the "river in the city" and the drivers were actually a part of the real-life demonstration of the vast, wide range of capabilities of the Jeep Cherokee. The commercial is further brought to life with captivating images of the drivers in the Jeep Cherokee confronting boulders and gravel amidst a raging river, all set against downtown parking meters and people moving down escalators in city buildings as the work day unfolds.
"We wanted to bring to life the real world capabilities of the Jeep Cherokee in a unique approach," said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, FCA - Global. "So how do you do that? By taking what is essentially an experiential event where unsuspecting drivers are being filmed navigating a busy metropolitan street that has been turned into a fully functional mountain river and let them experience the capabilities of the Jeep Cherokee for themselves. Our ‘River in the City’ takes an untraditional approach to create a powerful statement that the Jeep Cherokee can handle anything a city throws at it."
The :30 "River in the City" ad can be viewed at www.jeep.com/cherokeedetour, which features a :60 version of the spot and includes three additional product commercials (below). The site also features an exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo gallery that explores the making of the "River in the City" commercial, as well as interviews with the drivers taken on the unexpected detour.
The "River in the City" shoot took place from June 14 - June 18, 2014. The set was built and produced three days prior to the filming of the commercial. It took place on 400 Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, Canada. Materials included:
- 1,000,000 pounds of boulders, rocks and sand (2,500 sand bags), used throughout the set to break up water flow and give surface disturbance
- Water (250,000 gallons) was pumped onto the street with water pumps hidden in the alley and placed in key spots. (The water was recycled using a closed water system that pumped water from the end of the street back to the top. The water was eventually discharged down the street, into Vancouver Harbor.)
- 400,000 pounds of snow - the snowbank was made of snow blanket and fish-ice
- Logs, sticks, moss, and 80 fir/hemlock trees lined/covered the street. (The trees were boxed and returned to the nursery and boulders, gravel and other materials were also repurposed.)
- Two wolves were on set. (The domesticated, mixed-breed wolves were made available from the Animal Insight for Film and TV. A representative from the American Humane Association was on set to attest that the wolves were treated humanely and procedures were followed. Observers were able to take pictures with the animals.)
In addition to "River in the City," three additional spots focusing on product features of the Jeep Cherokee are currently airing on television and available online:
- "Front and Rear Park Assist" - in this :30 spot on the Vancouver "river" street, Jeep proclaims "We've got your front and your back" -- focusing on front and rear park assist technology of the Jeep Cherokee.
- "Forward Collision Warning" - :30 spot highlighting the Jeep Cherokee's important passive safety system feature to assist by warning the driver prior to a potential collision.
- "Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist" - synchronistic orchestration shows simultaneous parallel and perpendicular park assist technology of the Jeep Cherokee.
There is a new king of the hill in the mid-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment: the Jeep Cherokee. The Jeep Cherokee delivers legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, premium on-road manners and superior ride and handling, a segment-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy ratings of up to 31 miles per gallon (mpg) highway, world-class craftsmanship, leading-edge technology, more than 70 advanced safety and security features and best-in-class V-6 towing capability of 4,500 pounds.
Powered by a choice of two engines, three innovative 4x4 systems that feature the first use of a fully automated disconnecting rear axle and Engine Stop-Start (ESS) technology that is standard on V-6-powered Cherokee models, the Jeep Cherokee revolutionizes the mid-size SUV segment. The Cherokee delivers leading-edge technology that customers will value, world-class craftsmanship and clever features like the available 8.4-inch touch screen media center, the seven-inch full color instrument cluster display, inventive storage solutions and cargo flexibility not found elsewhere in the segment with the Jeep Cargo Management system.