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Published: Saturday, 8/25/2007

Ad for Jeep trumpets Toledo origin

BY MARK REITER
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Chrysler has promoted Jeep vehicles for years as durable, rugged, and adventurous.

Now the car maker is touting another attribute of the iconic vehicle: Toledo-made.

A new nationwide marketing campaign is featuring a Toledo-built Jeep Wrangler Rubicon under the headline: "Fun. Headquartered and manufactured in Toledo. Ohio."

"We thought this was a pretty good way to reach into the Jeep heritage," said Jay Kuhnie, director of Jeep advertising.

"We are proud that Jeep is still made in Toledo," he said.

The glossy two-page magazine ads delve into Jeep's history as a military vehicle and describe the modern vehicle's off-road capabilities.

It began appearing recently as part of the auto company's multiphase campaign to promote the brand's new tagline: "Have fun out there. Jeep."

Items such as a soccer ball, a picnic basket, a fishing lure, a tent, and a kayak are used in the marketing campaign to illustrate that fun-loving activities go along with the Jeep lineup, Mr. Kuhnie said.

An array of magazines is being used in the campaign, including GQ, Maxim, Fortune, and Vanity Fair.

One aim of the advertising is to show that the Jeep brand has expanded from three to seven models.

Four vehicles - Compass, Patriot, Commander, and the redesigned four-door Wrangler - have been added to the lineup since 2004.

"We have expanded our portfolio dramatically, and it is understandable that the list of magazines used in the ads would expand as well," Mr. Kuhnie said.

The attention that Chrysler is bestowing on Toledo in the marketing campaign has caught the attention of United Auto

Workers at the Toledo Assembly complex, where the Wrangler and Liberty are built.

"We have long felt since it was invented here that this was significant," said Bruce Baumhower, president of Local 12. "We're glad to see they recognize our heritage."

Mr. Baumhower said Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has made posters of the ads with the modifications: "We are proud to be the home of the Jeep." The UAW officials plan to give them to Robert Nardelli, Chrysler chief executive, and Tom LaSorda, president.

Mr. Kuhnie said upcoming ads will make the case that other automakers invented the term "sport utility vehicle" because they are unable to use the trademarked term "Jeep."

"It's so wonderful that Toledo is mentioned in something that is not negative or a joke," said Mike Zapiecki, a Toledo advertising and marketing specialist.

Contact Mark Reiter at

markreiter@theblade.com

419-724-6096.



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