Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
Meanwhile on Twitter
Loading latest tweet...
Ben Nadel at CFUNITED 2010 (Landsdown, VA) with: Brian Swartzfager and Simon Free and Jason Dean and Jim Priest and Vicky Ryder

The User Experience (UX) Of The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Manifesto Commercial

By Ben Nadel on

For the last three years, one television commercial has truly stuck out in my mind as being great. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee "Manifesto" commercial. When I watch it, I get chills. I feel inspired. I tell others about it because I want them to feel the same thing that I do. But what is it that makes the commercial so great? How does Jeep manage to craft a user experience (UX) that strikes such a deep chord? And what can we learn from it?


 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Last night, I sat down and watched this commercial about 15 times in a row. Sometimes I stared intently at the screen; sometimes I stared off into space and just listened. There's so much "good" happening in this commercial, it's crazy. Every word feels like it was deeply considered and chosen to create seamless continuity throughout the entire 60-second spot. And, the more I watched, the more subtle, yet powerful details popped out at me.

In a commercial for Jeep, the narrator doesn't mention the brand or the product until the last 3-seconds of the 60-second spot. This is where the genius comes in. The first 57-seconds - the first 95% of the commercial does nothing but assert that the viewer and the brand have the same values.

And, what a story they tell!


 
 
 

 
 Jeep Grand Cherokee commercial. 
 
 
 

The commercial speaks to our national pride. To our professional pride. To our abilities. To our memories. And, to our hope of what the future can hold. And, it does so under the unifying term, "We" - We all have the same values. We are all in this fight together.

When the commercial finally does start to talk about the product, it refers to it [the Grand Cherokee] as "our newest son." This is not a product "built" by a company - this is a life, birthed from the collective pool of our shared values - the same values that made this country - that made we, as a people great.

It's brilliant.

It makes me think of Simon Sinek's TED Talk, "How great leaders inspire action". In his presentation he talks about what sets great leaders and great companies apart; and, it's all in how they communicate. He calls it the "Golden Circle." It's a prioritization of ideas into:

  • Why
  • How
  • What

Rather than start with the "What" - the traditional marketing approach - start with the "Why" and work out from there. To me, this is exactly what makes this commercial so inspiring:

Why - We are a nation of builders. We love to build beautiful things. It is a matter of personal pride. It defines who we are. It makes this country great.

How - We pay attention to detail. Straight stitches. Clean welds. We build things that are designed to work. We bring this country back to its former greatness.

What - We happen to make the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

As Sinek says, "People don't buy What you do - they buy Why you do it."

Very inspiring.




Reader Comments

Great ad and great analysis Ben!
Today the Coca-cola commercial was in the media here, the bad response to that. Wonder how you'd analyze that, seems to have the opposite effect because of the same national pride to me.

Greetz,
Debby

Reply to this Comment

@Debby,

Thanks! Can you post a YouTube link to the Coke commercial? I'm not sure which one you're referring to.

Reply to this Comment

@Debby,

Interesting commercial. I think a lot of people just say things out of fear. It's sad.

Reply to this Comment

I hope I'm not playing Devil's Advocate here for all the wrong reasons, but the commercial hits home on 2 different (IMO, very true) notes:

1. It hints that America WAS a self-sufficient innovator, creator and builder. The glory of the now defunct post-industrial age. But we are capitalists, and as such, America has since they just looked to what costs the least, be this importing from others rather than doing itself, and as such, is quite the different America today. To those who mimic point 2, this is a sad state of affairs, but it is used as an inspirational source.

2. That there is still a sect of persons living in the US, devoid of any age-restrictions and generational divides, that adheres themselves to those old world standards; who take pride in the work they do, and as everyone else around them becomes complacent with lowering the bar, they instead only move the bar upwards. Craftsman who value doing things the right way; your way.

Indeed a powerful commercial.

Ben, I believe the "Coke Commercial" in question was this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=443Vy3I0gJs

People were slamming it because "America the Beautiful" is sung in different languages other than English. There is a strong cultural divide among Americans as to those who feel "English is our official language, and any other spoken of America is viewed as disrespectful" and "the acknowledgement that America itself is a melting pot of different cultures and languages, making the commercial best-reflect what America is today."

Reply to this Comment

Post A Comment

?
You — Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Comments
Live in the Now
Oops!
Comment Etiquette: Please do not post spam. Please keep the comments on-topic. Please do not post unrelated questions or large chunks of code. And, above all, please be nice to each other - we're trying to have a good conversation here.