A friend in the business told me earlier this week that Wieden + Kennedy is all about America. I considered his point and said, I see what you mean, what with Levi’s, Coke and Dodge on the roster. And Nike, P&G and ESPN.
Now, this morning Ad Age offers up this new W+K commercial for Jeep and asks us what we think.
We think it’s been done before, over and over again. Just like a lot of Wieden’s hero-driven Nike work gets remade year in and year out. New faces, same script.
Of course, it’s not just their own stuff W+K is remaking. It’s other people’s work too.
The criticism cuts even deeper. One person writing in Ad Age’s comments notes that the new Jeep spot borrows “11 exact shots” from this History Channel promo.
Repeating stories is something we do. It’s human nature. In fact, many of our best stories have been retold for centuries. Helen of Troy, for instance, dates back to the late Bronze Age, 1300 years before Christ. We retell the Helen story all the time, literally and figuratively. And we tell the “Made in America” story all the time.
Bottom line, you have to bring something new to the story. Something that makes you stop, and think, yes, I’m an American and I make things. I’m going to buy a Jeep.
The fact is, even if a commercial can successfully plant such an idea, it must also create an impulse strong enough to override years of Consumer Reports data and the not-so-little voice in the back of your head saying, “Don’t do it, buy Japanese.”