- Jeep announced via a news release the release of a web series competition called "Jeep Wrangler Celebrity Customs." The show is part of the automaker's new marketing campaign that also includes digital, social and experiential elements.
- Jalen Rose, former NBA player and sports analyst, will host the six-part series. Contestants include retired MLB star and current analyst Alex Rodriguez; media personality and entrepreneur Maria Menounos; and Andrew Steinthal and Chris Stang, co-founders of restaurant media platform The Infatuation. They will team up with professional customizers and use Jeep Performance Parts to outfit their 2018 Jeep Wranglers and create their dream vehicles.
- The winner will get to keep their customized Wrangler and receive a Wrangler Golden Grille Award. Fans can also vote for their favorite vehicle at Jeep.com for the Fan Favorite Award. Consumers can also track the progress of the vehicle customization on the celebrities' social media channels and on Jeep's Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Jeep is clearly inspired by several consumer trends, namely reality show competitions that pit famous names against each other and a growing preference for marketing content that resembles what's usually shown on TV. Beyond that, the auto brand can promote how drivers can personalize their Jeep vehicles, and keep viewers engaged by letting them track and vote on the participating celebs' own custom jobs.
Video content like web series and documentaries are becoming more popular as marketers look to get around obstacles to grabbing consumer attention, such as ad blockers. Hyundai, another auto brand, announced a three-part digital series last week that's part of its sponsorship of the NFL. "Cover 2" highlights some of the professional football league's best rivalries and will be available online at Hyundai's website, with teaser promos running during game broadcasts.
Jeep has steadily rolled out other digital video efforts in recent months as well. In April, it partnered with the World Surf League on a 360-degree video experience that took viewers around Oahu, Hawaii, in Jeep vehicles on a quest for the best waves. Viewers could choose different paths to take and make decisions that affected the narrative and the story's ending.
Viewership of original digital video (ODV) content, which is defined as video that is ad-supported, professionally produced and digitally distributed, has seen an uptick and is especially popular with younger audiences. ODV viewership increased 60% from 45 million in 2013 to 72 million in 2018, according to research by the the Interactive Advertising Bureau.