by Matt Konkle
Jeep enthusiasts have always been known for their passion and loyalty towards that brand with seven slots on the grille. Now, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is offering a new way fans can show off their dedication to the brand.
Jeep on Thursday announced a new contest designed to give owners, fans and followers a chance to create the next ‘Easter Egg’ that will subtly display on a future Jeep-branded vehicle.
Not sure what, exactly, an ‘Easter Egg’ has to do with Jeep? Well, it is pretty simple. Over the years, Jeep brand designers have thought up, and hid, subtle nods to the vehicle’s history or identity in various spots depending on the actual model.
For example, on the new Jeep Gladiator truck, they imbedded a ‘419’ on the back driver side of the bed—a nod to the Toledo, Ohio area code where the vehicle is built. For the newest Wrangler JL, a few ‘Easter Eggs’ include the iconic grille design inside the headlight, flip flops on the windshield wiper cover, or a Morse code JL spelled out under the rear cargo plug.
"Jeep 'Easter eggs' started with the 2011 Grand Cherokee," said Jeep Head of Design Mark Allen. "We added small Jeep grilles inside the headlamp bulb shields. It was an off-the-cuff addition of a graphic to an otherwise standard piece. After that, we started sprinkling small graphics on various vehicles.
“When we did the refresh on the Wrangler, we added a small side profile of a Jeep climbing up from the corner of the windshield, which became a point of delight for the customer. These small elements are a surprise and delight for our customers and help convey the human touch behind our products, which is appreciated.”
According to an FCA release, the contest is currently underway and ideas can be submitted now at thenextjeepeasteregg.com through July 2. All entrants must be legal US residents who are at least 18 years old.
All entries, FCA said, will be judged on criteria including creativity, quality, originality and ‘Brand Power’—meaning the submission is in line with the Jeep brand spirit and “is worthy of inclusion in the rare library of Jeep ‘Easter Eggs’”. The design must also be ‘actionable’ so FCA is able to use it on a future vehicle.
Jeep brand executives and designers will be included on the judging panel, FCA said, and the winner will be announced July 31.
Besides the chance to have their design featured on a new Jeep model, the contest winner will also receive a 2020 or newer Jeep of his or her choice, with a value up to $50,000.
"The Jeep brand's legacy is a testament to the people who since 1941 have dedicated themselves to building SUVs engineered and designed to be the most capable in the world, and to the people who proudly own, or aspire to own, one of our vehicles," said Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep Brand. "With a history of nearly 80 years filled with memorable experiences past and present, we believe that the ideas submitted by our global community will be ones that only Jeep and its owners, fans and followers can uniquely tell."