With a tie-in already in place with Paramount Pictures' Tomb Raider II: Cradle of Life -- in which the heroine drives a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon -- they turned to persuading lead actress Angelina Jolie to appear in ads.
Everything was progressing smoothly until the discussion turned to the ad's tagline.
Now, officially -- if anyone asks -- Jeep's spokeswoman is not Ms. Jolie, but video-game heroine Lara Croft.
Negotiations with Ms. Jolie dragged on for at least five months while Jeep's team tossed around creative ideas and tried to come up with a tagline Ms. Jolie was comfortable with. She was reluctant to say "It's a Jeep thing." This was a potential sticking point that worried the marketing team. Jeep was looking for a solid commitment to the brand from Ms. Jolie. What eventually persuaded her was an argument by the Jeep team that although she would be acting in the ad, the spokeswoman was really the Lara Croft character -- not Ms. Jolie. After some fine tuning, with both Paramount and Jeep making concessions, Ms. Jolie finally recorded as a tagline "Let's see them catch me now," after she eludes pursuers in her tricked-out Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
Jeep created three special Tomb Raider Rubicon vehicles for the film that will also later be used for promotions, including appearances at "Camp Jeep" events this summer. Aspect Ratio, a Los Angeles production shop, is producing the ads, a Jeep cinema ad and the movie trailer. Tomb Raider II opens July 25.
"We wanted the ad to be so natural that people will understand this is a Jeep commercial but it will have the look and feel of a movie trailer," Mr. Bell said. The ads were filmed on location at the movie's U.K. set.