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[WATCH] Jeep’s “River in the City” Ad Is the Coolest Marketing Stunt Ever

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Jeep’s “River in the City” ad

A shot from Jeep’s “River in the City” ad

In the golden age of TV sitcoms, commercials used to be known as pee breaks. Now that we do most of our streaming online, they’re the things we ignore until we see that glorious “Skip Ad” button. But sometimes, on very rare occasions, a commercial will be enjoyable to watch in its own right. Jeep’s “River in the City” ad might just be the most enjoyable one of all.

Jeep’s “River in the City” ad

How it looked from inside a building facing the street

For the ad, Jeep literally turned a city street in Vancouver into a river—not just with the 250,000 gallons of water, but also with 1,000,000 pounds of boulders, rocks, and sand (for the 2,500 sand bags that kept the engineers from drowning the city); 400,000 pounds of snow (because it was a mountain river or something); 80 fir and hemlock trees and their various logs, twigs, and moss; and, oh yeah, two wolves.*

Jeep’s “River in the City” ad

No, really, they, uh, they got some wolves.

Then, after the conversion, Jeep had unsuspecting drivers take test drives of a new Jeep Cherokee when suddenly, oh no, there was a detour. And so the drivers, starting to catch on that something fishy (ba dum chh) was going on, turned onto the magically transformed street and got to see just how well the Cherokee handles off-road.

Jeep’s “River in the City” ad

Another shot of the Cherokee conquering the river in the cityjeep

The 30-second spot has already started playing as of Sunday, but you can check out the extended 60-second spot, which is strangely 62 seconds, below:

“We wanted to bring to life the real world capabilities of the Jeep Cherokee in a unique approach,” explained Olivier Francois, the Chief Marketing Officer for Jeep’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler. “So how do you do that? By taking what is essentially an experiential event where unsuspecting drivers are being filmed navigating a busy metropolitan street that has been turned into a fully functional mountain river and let them experience the capabilities of the Jeep Cherokee for themselves.” (Naturally.) “Our ‘River in the City’ takes an untraditional approach to create a powerful statement that the Jeep Cherokee can handle anything a city throws at it.”

Mission accomplished.

You can take a closer look at Jeep’s “River in the City” ad behind the scenes in the videos below.

Constructing the River in the City

Interview with Unsuspecting Driver


*Don’t worry. The wolves were from a film and TV agency, and a representative from the American Humane Association was there to make sure they were treated properly. The wolves even got to take pictures with observers and had a really good time. Or at least we think they did, but we can’t be sure. We don’t speak wolf.