Formal Branding: The Jeep Black Tie Edition

Posted on December 12, 2011


Ever since Hollywood immortalized the tailcoat and tuxedo as symbols of the good life in the 1930s, marketers have sought to impart their prestige onto a wide range of products and services. This ongoing series will highlight some of the more interesting examples.

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Black Tie Edition. Click for more images.

In 2007 Jeep offered a set of chrome accessories for the new Wrangler Unlimited called the Black Tie package.  Here is the official description:

All chromed up and so many places to go. The Black Tie Package features chrome enhancements providing a bright complement to any body color — sure to turn heads on the trail or the red carpet. Chrome features include 18-inch premium wheels, fuel filler door, front and rear bumpers, side steps, mirror covers, exhaust tip and taillamp guards. A Black-tie Decal proudly states this Wrangler is dressed to the nines.

It would appear that the Jeep marketing department has little or no concept of what “black tie” actually means.  Consider:

  1. The package adds flash rather than refinement, a trait associated more with Vegas lounge acts than with classic formal wear.
  2. The package is available for Wranglers of any colour rather than being limited to black models which would actually reflect the dress code’s evening elegance.
  3. The package is designed for Jeep’s most heavy-duty off-roader rather than for one of their more upscale models.

The brand is even further diluted by the fact that Black Tie Edition decals are sold separately allowing Jeep owners to attach them to whatever model they wish.  (In fact, the decals can be stuck to just about any product with a smooth surface which has inspired me to buy one for my laptop cover.)

Perhaps “Prom Tux Edition” would have been a more apropos moniker.

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On a related note, Jeep’s first attempt to upscale their vehicles was the Tuxedo Park model offered from 1964 to 1967.

Posted in: Miscellanea