Posted by Abe Sauer on October 21, 2010 12:00 PM
Apparently, sitting on the couch and pretending to be skilled or brave enough to go into combat is not enough for some people. Now, those same video gamers who love the first person shooter franchise Call of Duty can drive around town to get more Doritos while pretending to be part of some important "black op."
Or, at least, that's what the Jeep brand (and its parent company) are hoping. Next month, Chrysler releases a special edition of the Jeep Wrangler model — behold, the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition, above. It's a fierce-looking beast, but will Jeep fans and fans of the video game bite?
Jeep says the limited edition model, to be released on Nov. 9 in tandem with the new video game of the same name, "is based on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model and features dark Rubicon wheels in a high-gloss Mineral Gray. The vehicle's exterior color is black and features Call of Duty: Black Ops graphics on the roof and front quarter panels… Inspired by Call of Duty: Black Ops, the new limited-edition Wrangler delivers legendary Jeep capability, aggressive 32-inch off-road tires, live axles with locking differentials in the front and rear, and a two-speed transfer case."
Operation Secure Mountain Dew, commence! Hooah!
Brand licenses on automobiles are a well-worn strategy. The 1990s saw the Eddie Bauer Special Edition Ford Explorer. Then there was the Lexus Coach Edition ES 300. When Ford revised its Mustang model to "retro," it wisely went with a film-themed Bullitt special edition. Ford maintains a licensing deal with Harley-Davidson for its Ford F-150 trucks. More recently, Dodge teamed up with race-outfitting brand Mopar for the 2011 Mopar Dodge Challenger R/T.
Of course, the great irony of Jeep's Call of Duty tie-in is that the brand's reputation and fame was formed in actual combat with real gunfire and blood and guts.
Jeep is not new to the special edition game at all ... nor is it new to failing at this game. Before Ford rolled its first Bullitt Mustang off the assembly line, Jeep released a special edition Wrangler Rubicon modeled on the Angelina Jolie film Tomb Rader 2.
In fact, Jeep's bigger problem with this "black ops" edition is that — much like real black ops — those undertaking them tend to get in trouble in the long run.
Before the "Call of Duty" special edition came along, Jeep aficionados were already grumbling about the brand's overused practice of rolling out "special edition" after "special edition," particularly where the specialness of the edition was little more than a few options packages and a hood emblem.