The 2013 North American Auto Show in Detroit kicked off this year with “Media Days,” a chance for the press and executives from all over to converge to show the world the latest from the automotive industry. It’s the first time that they get to see all of the show vehicles in person, almost a week before the public can attend. We decided to turn the “Media Day” concept on its head for 2013. We brought along our favorite “media” sources – Jeep® brand fans – to experience and star in the most important auto show in the world.
We’re talking about the Jeep® brand fans who enthusiastically tweet, post, blog, and upload videos about their Jeep vehicles and passion for the Jeep brand. We flew brand ambassadors Stacey Acevero, Jason Peck, Anton Stetner, Teresa Edgar, and Mary Rambin (and their guests) to Detroit to take part in the festivities. They ran on just a couple hours of sleep during their two days in Detroit, yet somehow managed to tweet, use Instagram, shoot videos and cover the event like pros.
The action started bright and early on Monday, January 14, as our fearless team of Jeep brand ambassadors attended one of the biggest events of the show – the unveiling of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2014 Jeep Compass models. The enormity of the event was clear, with Mike Manley, President and Chief Executive Officer – Jeep Brand, and Ralph Gilles, President and Chief Executive Officer – SRT® Brand and Motorsports, leading the way.
Of the special press event, Jason Peck of Arlington, Virginia, said, “It was awesome seeing the excitement around the Jeep brand press announcement and getting a first look at the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the available EcoDiesel V-6 engine. I’d heard rumors that there might be a diesel engine coming, but I couldn’t believe it also has a 700+ mile driving range.”
None of this was lost on Anton Stetner, who hails from the Seattle area. When Ralph Gilles came out to unveil the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, he had camera in tow to catch the announcement.
When we asked what his favorite vehicle of the event was, he was split. “In terms of being groundbreaking, it’s the diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee,” he said, “because for any larger SUV to get gas mileage that good is phenomenal.” But the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT hit the spot because of its “horsepower, good looks, and little touches like the black headlights.”
The SRT8 was king for Stacey Acevero of Maryland. “It seemed like everybody was real excited for the diesel Grand Cherokee, which I know Jeep brand enthusiasts have been asking about for a long time. But my favorite vehicle was definitely the Grand Cherokee SRT8. It’s the sporty SUV that gives you a little more than just a daily driver.”
Stacey got a surprise visit from Ralph Gilles the following day, getting to conduct a video walkaround with the mastermind behind the vehicle. (When we said that our ambassadors were like pros, we meant it. Be sure to check out her interview with Anton Stetner about the future of social media.)
Jim Morrison, Director of Jeep Brand Product Marketing, took time out of his busy schedule to greet each of our brand ambassadors. They each interviewed him during walkarounds of the new Grand Cherokee and Compass vehicles (look for those interviews on our YouTube channel soon). Mary Rambin relished her chance to talk with one of the brand’s leaders. “I liked hearing about how he responded to customer demand and how thoughtful each part of the design and technology was to different lifestyles.”
We were lucky to find this group of Jeep vehicle enthusiasts, who quickly bonded and served as a makeshift media team. Teresa Edgar, who arrived in Detroit after a long flight from Vancouver, said, “My favorite part, aside from checking out the 2014 Jeep vehicle lineup, was hanging out with a great group of people with similar interests. Not only were we Jeep brand fans, we were all interested in different aspects of media. I got much more out of the trip than I thought I would.”
“It’s a Jeep thing” is a motto understood from the beaches up to the mountaintops. When you put a group of Jeep vehicle fans together who have never met, you suddenly get a group of friends (Jason Peck told us that “Jeep people are always good to hang with.”). And when those friends are passionate, social media-savvy, and have that adventurous spirit inherent in the Jeep brand community, the results are remarkable.
They might not get much sleep, but we think that’s a good thing. One might even call it a “Jeep thing.”