Part of the selection process involved Francois sitting with Old Dominion members to ensure the song would work for them. The authentic feel he sought couldn’t exist unless the band was comfortable with the song.
After deliberating with the band, Francois settled on “Young,” a song penned by contestant Katelyn Tarver. Francois selected it because he could visualize the commercial.
The spot, which featured Tarver, centered on a middle-aged couple driving a Wrangler as flashbacks to their younger selves were interspersed to match the song’s youthful theme.
The song also got Francois thinking about inclusiveness, a brand value that FCA CEO Mike Manley had explained to him. Francois was attracted by the song’s concept of wanting to be young, which he thought older buyers could relate to.
“At some point I heard the song and I said, ‘Now I exactly understand what inclusive means,’ ” Francois said. “That’s one of the dimensions of inclusive, meaning people, like me, who are no longer what you would say young. It’s across ages, so that’s one very interesting dimension. It is across demographics, and that’s what I think I liked about the song. The song inspired that vision.”
While the show had just one winner, Francois is considering using another of the finalists for a future campaign.
He is a fan of contestant Jacobi.e’s song, “Where the Road Ends,” which he feels is a strong fit for an “urban, younger [and] diverse” demographic.
Jeep’s “Songland” partnership continued FCA’s strategy of using the music world as an outreach tool — albeit in a previously untapped fashion.
The automaker has been featured in music videos for The Fast and the Furious movie franchise, for instance, and teamed with artists such as country singer Miranda Lambert, OneRepublic and another rock band, X Ambassadors, during campaigns.
Francois said even though he isn’t a music lover, he has discovered through the years that music is an effective avenue to buyers.
“I’ve just been an explorer of how we can break barriers and create some new marketing formulas that are more effective, innovative and can help me deliver better marketing — meaning something more targeted, more relevant, more relatable, super meaningful,” Francois said. “And in doing that, my path has led me so far to the conclusion that music is a very, very good tool.”