Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2017

Degree Type

Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Albert Way

Second Advisor

Dr. Larrie Dudenhoeffer

Abstract

The subculture of the Jeep brand has enabled the lasting success of the Jeep Wrangler. A warrior of World War II, the Jeep was credited with helping to win the war, while also befriending the common American soldier. When the Jeep Wrangler was introduced thirty years after the conclusion of World War II, sales skyrocketed. Today the Jeep Wrangler is still the highest grossing Jeep vehicle. Boasting characteristics for the rugged outdoorsman, this thesis argues that the successful utilization of wilderness ideologies by the Jeep brand promotes the successful sales of the Jeep Wrangler. Through the methods of historical and visual analysis, this thesis offers reasoning behind consumption of the iconic Jeep Wrangler.

Individuals have become so far removed from nature that one of the avenues in which to return is through consumption. The concepts of both wilderness and nature have become loaded with socially constructed meanings, many of which transform nature and wilderness into an un-natural notion. After a brief synopsis of the origin of the Jeep brand in World War II, the thesis will complete a thorough analysis of the physical Jeep Wrangler in correlation to various wilderness ideologies including name, color, and build. Subsequently the thesis will complete a thorough analysis of marketing campaigns of the Jeep Wrangler in correlation to various wilderness ideologies in order to showcase how culturally embedded media can sway consumption.

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