Jeep drives the Montreux Jazz Festival


Next year Jeep will celebrate a significant anniversary. Born in 1941, the iconic American car brand is gearing up for its 75th anniversary. Coincidentally, 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Montreux Jazz Festival, a globally famous event in the world of music. So how appropriate it will be for Jeep and Jazz to plan a joint anniversary jam session together.

Motors and music

Although they’re not announcing it yet, that’s the likely scenario for this time next year. But first, Jeep is currently having a busy time in Switzerland alongside Lake Geneva as the new major sponsor of this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival, on until the 18th of July.

The festival opened with first night headline artists Emeli Sande and John Legend performing for an enraptured audience of around 4,000 people in the Auditorium Stravinski. Outside, a fleet of 30 pristine new Jeeps was on hand to ferry them and other musical stars between nearby Geneva airport, lakeside hotels and local destinations.

Jeep and jazz


Of course, it is all good publicity for Jeep models like the Grand Cherokee, Cherokee and Renegade to be seen by thousands of music fans, as the cars that transport the celebrities. Estimates suggest that as many as 400 additional sales of Jeeps may be a direct result. This is a big festival with an expected attendance over its two-weeks-plus run of around 250,000 people, including many from the UK and further afield.

The festival has an international following and is unusual for its very ready accessibility to music fans. Over the 16 days of the Montreux event, there are a total of 348 concerts, and 246 of them are free of charge to attend. Audiences pay to see the big headline acts, but there is open access to hear less famous artists and talented up-and-coming new ones. No wonder this festival proves such a big attraction.

Jeep is singing a different tune

Most motor manufacturers involve themselves with major events as sponsors, aiming to associate the brand with their customers’ interests and at the same time attract new buyers. Although appealing to rather different audiences, Vauxhall’s sponsorship of football and Audi’s involvement in polo are both driving in a similar direction. Sport is a popular route for sponsorship deals.

So why does a car company involve itself with a music festival? According to Steve Zanlunghi, Head of Jeep Brand, it’s all about “Freedom, authenticity, passion and adventure”, which he says Jeep and jazz both share. “That’s what it takes to be a great musician, and we think it’s a good fit with our values as a car company”.

On American Independence Day, 4th July, Jeep unveiled a special customised Renegade with a special-effect 10-layer paintwork, inspired by a funky jazz guitar. The eye-catching car’s style includes a wood-grained effect on the bonnet and a colour scheme that dramatically cascades through lighter to darker shades from the roof down to the lower parts of the bodywork. Customised by Italian styling company Garage Italia, it looks amazing and will spend the next year on display as a reminder of Jeep’s involvement with the Montreux Jazz Festival.




Sue Baker is a seasoned motoring journalist with a love of all things automotive.

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