Stellantis has activated retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter for a campaign promoting Jeep’s new Grand Wagoneer SUV, with the leadoff spot debuting during Friday night’s World Series Game 1 between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros.
The multiyear campaign, dubbed “Eyes Wide Open,” will begin with a one-minute commercial featuring images of Jeter, his wife, Hannah, and child actors playing their three daughters. It was shot in various settings in and around New York using a 2023 Jeep Grand Wagoneer L, an extended-wheelbase version of the large SUV — and the most expensive production Jeep ever.
Jeter — a first-ballot Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and 14-time All-Star with five World Series championships during his 20-year career with the Yankees — is an experienced pitchman who has appeared in a number of advertising campaigns during and after his career, including for Stellantis rival Ford Motor Co.
Stellantis marketing chief Olivier Francois said the company chose Jeter and his wife, a professional model, because the automaker “needed a personality that symbolizes American success … and American aspiration. We wanted someone relatable to our customers — that’s always key.” He said the automaker was “looking for the kind of person who authentically could embody our three-row SUV.”
Francois said the suggestion to hire Jeter came from his team. “As a Frenchman, baseball is not my forte, no? Europeans are all about soccer, but not baseball. But facts are facts. I did my homework, and the team was really eloquent. Even to a Frenchman, it became very clear: Derek is one of the most famous baseball players of all time. That’s official; that’s a fact. And he’s also a businessman, family man and a force in popular culture.”
He also noted that Jeter has a strong Michigan connection, having grown up in Kalamazoo.
Neither Derek or Hannah Jeter speak in the first series of commercials shown to reporters. However, Francois said that later in the multiyear, multiplatform campaign, the couple would take speaking roles as well as promote the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer on their own social platforms.
Jeep North American brand head Jim Morrison said that since their introductions last year, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer have been “attracting the majority of new customers for us, and that’s really good, bringing new customers to our dealers and into the showrooms.” He said the new marketing campaign should help the Wagoneer subbrand capture further market share. “This latest marketing campaign will be just exactly what we need to push it over the edge.”
The campaign was created in partnership with Highdive agency in Chicago.