Jeep Super Bowl Ad Protested by Fishing Group

It's actually not okay to drive an off-the-road vehicle up the middle of a creek, conservation advocate says.

ENJOYING THE GREATER OUTDOORS
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A group devoted to keeping the nation's waterways clean and hospitable for fishing has a message for the millions of Americans who watched a Super Bowl ad portraying a Jeep driving up the center of a creek: "That's not okay."

Trout Unlimited is asking Fiat Chrysler to pull a commercial dubbed "The Road," which showed a 2019 model year Jeep Cherokee driving up the middle of a creek. Another ad for Jeep called "Anti-Manifesto" also involved driving in water, but it came with a disclaimer making clear the lake involved was manmade, as opposed to "The Road" ad, which "neglected to do that," Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, told The Drive.

"Trout Unlimited is not in the business of opining on popular culture," said Wood of the nonprofit devoted to conservation and fishing. But Wood decided to speak up when he considered the "hundred million or so watching that ad," which prompted his eight-year-old son to lean over towards him, asking "dad, isn't that really bad for the stream?"

The ad "seems to promote the idea that it's okay to drive up a middle of a stream. It's not. It's never okay to do that," said Wood, who wrote a letter to FCA Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne asking him to discontinue the commercial.

"Jeep is a brand all about getting people into the outdoors, and there's a right way and a wrong way," said Wood, who would like the automaker to instead help lead a "conversation about responsible use of off-road vehicles, while at the same time protecting our natural resources."

Many of Trout Unlimited's 300,000 members and supporters help maintain trails and drive Jeeps and other all-terrain vehicles to get to hard to reach spots, and do so responsibly, said Wood, who added: "One ad can undo all of that good work."

An FCA spokesperson did not directly address whether the commercial could be seen as encouraging people to drive in creeks, but said "the vehicle shown in the video is driving on a designated county road that experiences seasonal runoff."

Additionally, FCA makes sure its vehicles are used in a legal and responsible way when showing their off-road capabilities, the spokesperson said.

As for Trout Unlimited's request that the ad gets yanked, the FCA spokesperson emailed: "As with majority of FCA’s Super Bowl commercials, the spots are only intended to have a one-time television airing during the big game."