"The Gathering" Announces What We Already Knew: Jeep Has a Cult-Like Following
Is this story about Jeep? Or is it a play by this so-called "group of like-minded business leaders, united by their interest in the black art of cult brand-building" to gain exposure for their summit? No matter how you slice it, they speak the truth (and they're getting their 15 seconds), and it is fair to say that Jeep is a "Cult Brand". After more than six decades selling cars to the public (and the army during WWII), Jeep has added mainstream products, become a part of popular culture all while preserving its roots and continues to build the most capable, rugged vehicles for retail consumers.
Yup, that's pretty much what Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand, says in his sound bite: "Having the Jeep brand acknowledged as a Cult Brand Honoree… is a testament to the people who since 1941 have dedicated themselves to building the world's most capable SUVs with off-road capability that is second to none. The global Jeep community is like no other. There is no other automotive brand that is so instantly recognizable and woven into the history of its home nation yet recognized around the world, and one that is protected with such a passion by its owners, fans and followers."
Well, Ferrari comes to mind, and perhaps Porsche, but the fact that he doesn't sound ridiculous making that claim is a testament to just how powerful the Jeep brand is. Heck, in a lot of places, "Jeep" means off-roader, and not many brands reach the point where they are so dominant that they become the generic term for that product. What makes it noteworthy is that Jeep is the first automotive brand honored with the "Cult Brand" honour awarded by The Gathering, joining other iconic brands like Gatorade, Jack Daniel's, Snickers, and PlayStation among others.
The Gathering co-founder Chris Kneeland added, "Their marketing, product innovation and customer engagement are best-of-breed and represent exactly how cult brands foster internal and external brand engagement." You know Jeep people love their Jeeps, but Jeep continues to build the brand and its legend, and for me, the quiet, soft-spoken Anti-Manifesto ad during the Super Bowl perfectly captures this, demonstrating how you don't need to say a single thing about the product itself in order for people to understand what the brand (wants you to think it) represents.