Back then: Lou Bitonti senior manager-events was riding the trails at Camp Jeep that annual three-day extravaganza for Jeep owners that is jam-packed with off-road races sports adventure and music all designed with the Jeep lifestyle in mind. It’s a state-of-the-art happening that keeps Jeep owners in the family and lovin’ their Jeeps. (Upwards of 10 000 people come together to celebrate every year.) Everyone gets in on the act: Chrysler’s designers engineers even its financial guys come along for the ride while the marketing peeps keep a keen eye on ROI. It’s the ultimate word-of-mouth event turning Jeep owners into evangelists keeping the converted hooked and bringing more Jeep lovers into the mix as well.
Now: Bitonti left last year so we hitched up with Jay Kuhnie director-Jeep communications for the latest news:
What’s changed since Lou’s smiling face lit up our cover?
The Jeep brand has gone from three vehicles to seven with the Commander Wrangler 4-door Compass and Patriot. We are now seven strong. We are continuing to bring our products to the masses via event marketing with Camp Jeep and the like but we have expanded it with the Go Anywhere Do Anything Tour which is new this year. Our 13th Camp Jeep this summer set all kinds of records with more than 10 000 people and 2 900 cars more trail rides than ever and concerts with Tim McGraw and the B-52s; a mobile marketing tour hit the road this summer.
What’s your biggest accomplishment since our story?
In 18 months we launched four new vehicles; I would venture to say no brand has done it. It’s a formidable feat.
So what’s the next challenge?
Feeding each of the children appropriately. It was one thing when we had three; it was easier. Now having seven makes it more difficult from the perspective of including everyone and building marketing programs that allow you to be more brand specific but include the entire family.