You bought a WHAT?

Identity is at the core of every buying decision. Because we all buy things, we can all get better at persuading others to buy – otherwise known as “selling”.

Selling requires the ability to put yourself in another person’s position, and to appeal to their identity - whether you’re selling to consumers or to business buyers.

The “I Bought A Jeep” campaign is a good example of how identity affects purchase behaviour. This campaign, launched in 2012, has become part of the Australian cultural vernacular. 

The advertising firm behind the campaign, Cummins&Partners, discovered that although Jeeps were very popular with the people who already drove them, the brand was struggling to reach new customers with its previous ad campaign slogan, “Don’t Hold Back”.

Qualitative research with current Jeep customers showed that most of them had experienced an “incredulous” reaction from family and friends when explaining they’d bought a Jeep (“you bought a WHAT??”).

The big idea behind the new campaign was to dramatise this as “incredulous approval”. Therefore, the reaction to saying “I bought a Jeep” became “You bought a Jeep!”

Jeep’s brand values are freedom, authenticity, adventure and passion, and the ads tap into a customer’s desire to live those values - not just buy a car.

This campaign won two Silver awards at the advertising industry’s 2014 Australian Effie Awards.  The agency’s submission to the awards committee shows that the campaign had dramatically increased sales for the parent company, Fiat Chrysler, in a difficult car sales market. Since the start of the campaign, Jeep sales increased 156%, outgrowing the SUV category by 300% while also reducing media expenditure per unit by 45%.

Australia is now Jeep’s second largest sales market outside the USA. Talking about the success of the campaign, Cummins&Partners’ CEO Sean Cummins said:

“Our aim is to create enduring platforms for brands that inspire action. And this does both. In spades. What is exciting for us is that “I bought a Jeep” has become so idiomatic to Australians. This is the stuff brands dream of. And it is a sensational platform that could go for years…the work we do is not for the industry, it is for consumers. And they are buying Jeeps!”

Knowing what we know about how the ads play to the connection between Jeep’s brand values and the values of the customer, we could also add to this by concluding:

“…because we found a way to appeal to the buyer’s identity”.

This is an extract from my new book Value: how to talk about what you do so people want to buy it. To order your copy, go to http://www.robynhaydon.com/buy/