Advertising genius or just annoying?
You only have to look at the sales figures to see that the long-running “I bought a Jeep!” advertising campaign is still kicking goals. But in the advertising world, they measure themselves by more than just dollars. Parody, not imitation, can be one of the most sincere forms of flattery. Click onto YouTube and you can see that “I bought a Jeep!” has made the magical jump from advertising slogan to popular culture catchphrase and comedy inspiration. One particularly notable YouTube production inspired by “I bought a Jeep” is a short film (creatively titled I Bought a Jeep), which carries an MA15-plus rating and descends from relationship difficulties to dismemberment almost as fast as you can say “I bought a Jeep!” The entire dialogue of the seven-minute film barely strays from the lines “I bought a Jeep!” and “You bought a Jeep?” Despite that, media and advertising website Mumbrella declared the video – made by the Van Vuuren Bros – to be far less “annoying” than the original ads. That sparked a reply from Sean Cummins, the CEO of CumminsRoss, the agency that dreamed up the Jeep ads. “When you enter the vernacular so positively with your brand, it is the high watermark for your advertising,” he said. “Those who suggest otherwise are secretly wishing they had a campaign that did. Not since ‘Which Bank’ and ‘Not happy Jan’ has there been such an all-pervasive catch phrase. The difference between ‘I bought a Jeep’ and these other famous lines, is the brand is at the heart of the idiom. I haven’t heard something do that since Clayton’s in the 70′s. Annoyingly overused? I don’t think so. Remember what our role in advertising is: to make brands stand out. And sell that brand. Jeep has gone from a $200 million dollar brand to over $1 billion in the last two years since we started the campaign. To have it reach the pop culture in this way, is pretty awesome, too. Thank you Van Vuuren brothers.” Not everyone agreed with Cummins’ take on the campaign. Meanwhile, Jeeps continue to sell like hotcakes.