Trout Unlimited officials found Jeep's new television ad disturbing and irresponsible for its apparent glorification of off-roading through the middle of a stream.
Chris Wood, the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, expressed his dismay at Jeep's new Super Bowl-released television ad. The ad shows a Jeep Wrangler driving through the middle of a stream and up and over an embankment.
The Jeep ad called the off-roading depiction an "Anti-Manifesto," as it ostensibly goes against the grain of most other television car ads.
"I'm sitting on the couch enjoying Super Bowl Sunday," said Wood. "That ad suddenly came on and I almost couldn't believe what I was watching."
"They drove right up the middle of the stream, they effectively reamed the stream and glorified it. It is about the worst thing you can do to a stream."
Even though the ad displayed the textual disclaimer, "Closed man-made lake and waterfall. Always follow applicable law," Wood emphasized that it sent the wrong message nevertheless. He declared that such off-road driving is bad for fish and wildlife, and is highly damaging to streams and rivers.
Wood says that the proper way to cross a stream is to do so via an intended man-made crossing, thereby limiting the damage that a vehicle can do to a stream and the creatures that inhabit it.
"Fish are tough and resilient critters, but they don't do well with several-thousand-pound vehicles driving over their spawning grounds, tearing up the gravel where they lay eggs," Wood said. "Why someone would want to put out the idea that you should buy a Jeep so you could drive it up a creek is incomprehensible to me."
Another ad shows a Jeep Cherokee driving through a stream bed (below):
Wood ended up writing a letter to Sergio Marchionne, the chairman and CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, parent company of Jeep.
In the letter Wood wrote, "I am certain many of Trout Unlimited's 300,000 members and supporters drive Jeeps on their way to fishing. But when they arrive at the river's edge, they do the responsible thing, and get out of the Jeep. I used to own a CJ7, and took that truck all over the hills of Vermont. What I never did, however, was to drive up the center of a stream."
"The commercial that aired on Sunday might appeal to some, but to sportsmen and women it was wrongheaded."
"Jeep got some bad marketing advice on this one, and I hope you will discontinue this commercial and its implication that it is fine to drive up the middle of an otherwise healthy creek."
Jeep defended the ads but indicated that they have no plans to run them on television again.
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