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Jeep and Paramount Films Ally to Push New Film

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Penelope Cruz, Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn in Paramount's Sahara - 2005
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich., March 14 -- The Jeep(R) brand, Paramount Pictures and Bristol Bay Productions today announced an alliance that will result in an extensive marketing and publicity campaign surrounding the release of the highly anticipated Clive Cussler - Dirk Pitt adventure "Sahara." The film will be released in theaters nationwide on April 8.

In the film, master explorer and adventurer Dirk Pitt relies on his Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to venture into some of the most dangerous regions of the world. Crossing unforgiving sand dunes, dry riverbeds and treacherous borders, Dirk tracks down the answer to a 150-year-old mystery by going where only a Jeep vehicle can take him. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is also featured in the film.

"Jeep 4x4s are a natural fit for a bigger-than-life action-adventure," said Jeff Bell, Vice President, Chrysler and Jeep. "'Sahara' is no exception -- the brutal terrain of the world's largest desert is perfect for highlighting the capability, versatility and spirit of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The Jeep brand and Paramount are pioneering a new and powerful marketing model."

As part of the promotion, "Sahara" director Breck Eisner has also filmed several special scenes featuring the Jeep vehicles to be used in television commercials, featuring both the Jeep brand and "Sahara." Antfarm, which edited the film's trailer, will also cut the commercials in conjunction with BBDO Detroit, the agency of record for Chrysler Group.

Eisner noted that Jeep vehicles had proved valuable to the film production behind the cameras, as well as in front of them. "While filming in the Tinghrasse Valley in Western Sahara, we were hit by a freak rainstorm," said Eisner. "A dry river bed that hadn't seen water in years suddenly began filling up, threatening to cut off the 200 people in our crew. With the water getting deeper fast, we knew we had to evacuate everyone over the river to safety. We first tried fording the waters in our rented 4x4s, but they couldn't make the crossing. We realized that only the Jeep Wranglers, which were standing by to be featured on camera in the movie, had enough clearance to cross the rushing water and get people to safety on the opposite bank. In a series of river crossings using the 'picture' Jeep vehicles, the entire crew was ferried to safety. The fact that everyone got back to base unharmed that evening was thanks to the Jeep vehicles."

Television advertising will begin to air in March 2005, and is to be complemented by efforts across all marketing platforms, including print, Internet, television, gaming and dealer promotions. Advertising and footage of the flood rescue can be seen on . The alliance also includes plans to produce 1,000 Limited Edition Wrangler Unlimited Sahara vehicles.

Built off of the Jeep Unlimited Rubicon model, the Limited Edition Sahara features unique exterior and interior cues, including a chrome grille, accent- colored fender flares, 30-inch Moab wheels with accent colors, exterior Sahara badge and a premium two-tone seat. In addition, the model will also include three Mopar components -- taillamp guards, a unique khaki-colored spare tire cover and a serialized interior badge that adds a great touch of exclusivity. The base MSRP for the Unlimited Sahara is $30,375.

This is the Jeep brand's second foray into the world of embedded content and branded entertainment in a feature film. The company also collaborated with Paramount Pictures on "Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life."

"Reaching audiences in a fragmented world that is full of clutter is not easy," said Lisa DiMarzio, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships, Paramount Pictures. "The team at Jeep brand understands the importance of partnership marketing, especially for projects of this magnitude. We are looking forward to working together and creating a campaign that will exceed the groundbreaking marketing that Jeep did with 'Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.'"

Bell added, "We worked closely with the producers to implement what we call 'BrandCasting(TM),' which is a quantum leap from product placement. We seek opportunities for our vehicles to be characters in meaningful roles. With this as a foundation, the possibilities to build on this relationship and create opportunities are unlimited."

The relationship between Jeep brand, Paramount Pictures and Bristol Bay Productions was brokered by The Arnell Group, a specialty brand marketing firm based in New York. BBDO Detroit, Chrysler Group's agency of record, will facilitate creative executions and events surrounding the partnership.

In "Sahara," master explorer Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) takes on the adventure of his life when he embarks on a treasure hunt through some of the most dangerous regions of West Africa. Searching for what locals call the "Ship of Death," a long lost Civil War battleship that protects a secret cargo, Pitt and his wisecracking sidekick (Steve Zahn) use their wits and clever heroics to help Doctor Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz), when they realize the ship may be linked to mysterious deaths in the very same area.

Paramount Pictures and Bristol Bay Productions present in association with Baldwin Entertainment Group, a j.k. livin production, a Kanzaman production, "Sahara." Breck Eisner directs. The screenplay is by Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, John C. Richards and James V. Hart, based on the novel by Clive Cussler. The action-adventure is produced by Howard Baldwin, Karen Baldwin, Mace Neufeld and Stephanie Austin. Matthew McConaughey, Gus Gustawes, William J. Immerman and Vicki Dee Rock are the executive producers. Also starring are Lambert Wilson, Glynn Turman, Delroy Lindo and William H. Macy. The film is distributed in the United States by Paramount Pictures.

About Jeep Brand

Freedom, authenticity, mastery and the capability to go anywhere are the hallmarks of the Jeep brand worldwide. It is a reputation earned during more than six decades of SUV leadership. The launch last year of the award-winning Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty CRD (Clean Running Diesel) and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited represent new models and an expansion of the Jeep brand. Later this year, Jeep continues to grow with the introduction of the Jeep Commander, an all-new three-row SUV. Jeep Trail Rated communicates the legendary Jeep capability that is designed into every Jeep 4x4. As the brand's lineup expands, Jeep vehicles will continue to be what they have always been -- the most capable.

About Paramount

Paramount Pictures is a part of the entertainment operations of Viacom Inc., one of the world's largest entertainment and media companies and a leader in the production, promotion and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and music.