Brand: Jeep / Chrysler
Back in 2009, Jeep and Activision Blizzard -- the software publishing company responsible for hits such as "World of Warcraft," "Starcraft," and "Call of Duty" -- began working together to enhance their in-game advertising integration. Generally speaking, in-game ads have a mixed reputation both inside the industry and among consumers. The companies formally announced a limited-edition 2011 Jeep Wrangler "Call of Duty: Black Ops" edition in October 2010, one month ahead of the new game's availability. Mike Manley, President and CEO of Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group, clearly got it. Jeeps were integrated into the game as the main vehicles. Visually, the special edition Jeeps are differentiated from the base models in many overt ways -- the designers managed to achieve the right balance of using the game's logo while not being gimmicky. That success was followed up with a 2012 Wrangler "Modern Warfare 3" edition that featured even more smart differentiators including numbered Jeeps (i.e., X out of 3,500). More co-promotions included giving away a Jeep to a select gamer attending Activision's CoD XP, a themed event for enthusiasts. This resulted in a tremendous viral impact that pushed awareness across the board.
A toy "Call of Duty" Jeep was created and the company worked with Activision on the vehicle's national ad campaign:
What's next: These guys are on the right path, but it's really just the beginning. Getting incorporated with end-caps, cross-marketing deeper with the endemic media, and being present at more live consumer events seems like low-hanging fruit for the king of the jungle. And, to be fair, the real heavy-lifting here was done by Jeff Bell when he was with the brand (he's now at Xbox, which should tell you something) who first aligned the company with gamers via the best-selling game, "Tony Hawk."