'X' marks the spot for new Jeep Renegade ad campaign
Jeep wants to ensure drivers that although the Renegade is the smallest vehicle the brand has built, it's still up for urban and off-roading adventures.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Friday is launching its first ad campaign for the subcompact SUV in true Jeep fashion, with a national 60-second TV ad featuring adventure-seeking youths driving Renegades down city streets, snowy terrain and beaches.
Unique to the new campaign is its anthem song appropriately titled "Renegades" by emerging Brooklyn band X Ambassadors. The song — co-written by famed music producer Alex da Kid and the band's Sam Harris — will be featured throughout the campaign, including two additional 30-second TV spots that will begin airing next week.
"Long live the pioneers, rebels and mutineers, go forth and have no fear, come close and lend an ear, And I said hey, hey hey hey, living like we're renegades," goes the song.
The ad features footage of X Ambassadors interspersed with footage of the all-new Renegade traveling across U.S. locations, including San Diego, Portland and Sedona.
The partnership with the band came from Fiat Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois working with Interscope Records last year for music video collaborations for the American Music Awards, which Interscope vice chairman Steve Berman called "the high point" of the company's collaborations with the automaker until now, with the Jeep campaign.
"It's a very unique opportunity for our company," Berman said during a phone interview Thursday. "Interscope has always been very much about finding those opportunities to work with creative marketers who have a vision and a sensitivity to art. Olivier is clearly a leader in that area."
Francois, known for his unique partnerships in the music and movie industries, said the brand wanted to team up with a "real authentic," relatively unknown group that Millennials — the vehicle's target age group — could relate to.
"We needed something new, Francois said Thursday during a separate phone interview. "Because it is Jeep and because it is Renegade; we didn't want to borrow equity from a tune or a celebrity. Jeep doesn't need this."
Alex da Kid, who has worked with everyone from Dr. Dre and Nicki Minaj to Imagine Dragons, said the song was never meant to be for an ad campaign, but it fits extremely well with Jeep.
"This whole program is definitely really special," he said. "Sometimes things just align ... I love exploring this whole relationship between artist and brand because we both have the same goal, which is to move people."
He said the campaign should be mutually beneficial for Jeep and X Ambassadors, which is releasing a new album in June.
Also fitting is the "X" in the band's name relates to the military-inspired "X" taillights for the Renegade, which designers touted when the vehicle debuted last year.
"The ties are so incredible," Francois said. "It's like destiny."
X Ambassadors is the newest Interscope artist dating back to Eminem in 2011 to team up with Fiat Chrysler. Berman said Interscope always looks for collaborations that complement its musicians as well as the corporate partner: "It creates a platform for us where we're using marketing as an opportunity to build revenue," he said.
The Italian-built Renegade is the most important vehicle for Fiat Chrysler of 2015. It marks the brand's first endeavor into the subcompact market; it's the first Jeep to exclusively be built overseas; and it's key to the brand's global ambitions.
The Renegade first went on sale in late-2014 in Europe. It started arriving in U.S. dealerships last month.
Fiat Chrysler officials have called the Renegade a "gateway" vehicle for the popular SUV brand that will bring younger buyers into its portfolio.
The name Renegade should also sound somewhat familiar to Jeep fans. It has been used on Jeep vehicles before — CJ-5, CJ-7, Liberty and a 2008 two-seat concept — but this is the first time it serves as the vehicle's name.
"We call this car Renegade because of the history of Jeep, but really that song made a unique connection the name of the car and the mindset of the consumer," Francois said.