Dodge Reportedly Says No “Re-Do”

Dodge Journey

As our attention turned to last weekend’s search for a free Dodge Journey hidden somewhere in the East, it turned away from the controversy stemming from the Midwest search.  Now it’s back again.

You may recall that within hours of Brad Neidy finding the Journey in Oklahoma’s Black Kettle National Grassland, rumors started swirling about whether he had inside information.  Neidy is a troop commander for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which assisted crews filming the “clue” commercial.  The discussion boards on Dodge’s YouTube site were ablaze with accusations of a conspiracy.  It didn’t help matters that Dodge went four days before releasing even the smallest statement — that Neidy had declined the Journey and that the the contest rules were being reviewed.  Since then, many on the discussion boards have been stating that Dodge should “re-do” the Midwest search.  A Facebook page even started to that effect.  It doesn’t look like that will happen.

According to the blog, Automotive.com, Chrysler’s marketing communication officer, Eileen Wunderlich, had this response to inquiries:

“Dodge will not re-hide the second vehicle.  I don’t yet have any updates at this time, other than to say that there is no need to change the program rules.” [link added by The Off Ramp]

This information is just now starting to be circulated, probably because the people discussing the topic temporarily shifted their focus to the final search in the East and are just now returning to what has been called the “Great Midwest Cheat,” and — oh, yeah — neither Chrysler, nor Dodge, have actually issued an official statement about this.  Oh, Dodge — tsk, tsk, tsk . . .  you apparently didn’t take the free PR advice I gave you.

It’s unfortunate that the people who took part in the three searches, from their armchairs or on foot, are learning about Dodge’s decision from someone other than the company.  A quick Google search of “Dodge Journey midwest controversy” results in a list of websites, discussion boards and blogs, The Off Ramp included.  I find it telling that as soon as the East Coast search was completed, my post from last week on Neidy declining his Journey rose once more to the top of the “most read posts” on this site.  People are looking for information and they are talking about the lack of it, and, for the most part, they are people who already have a vested interest in the company, if for no other reason because they were following the contest.  I foresee that, as this news becomes more widespread, people will get even more upset than they were when this controversy started.

As for Neidy, many of those on the Dodge discussion boards have seen his action of declining the Journey as an admission of guilt.  However, Captain Chris West, public affairs officer for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, reportedly told Automotive.com that that was definitely not the case.  The blog reports that West declared the rumors of Neidy’s prior knowledge of the Journey’s location as “bogus.”   West said he had spoken to Neidy and that, in the wake of the controversy, Neidy decided to decline the prize to as not to shed a negative light on the highway patrol: “I have known Brad Neidy for a long time, and no one is questioning his integrity.”

Now it’s your turn, Dodge.  You said in last week’s statement that you would “provide updates soon.”  We’d like to hear from you.

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East Coast Search Recap

Dodge Journey

Well, that was an exciting 29 hours, Dodge!  In fact, it’s been an exciting Journey ever since I first saw that Route 66 sign on the commercial announcing the search for three Dodge Journeys hidden across the United States and, as the commercial said, “If you can find one, you can have one.”  By the time the final search came to the East, the momentum had reached a fever pitch.

The last Journey was found in a barn attached to a vacation property in Tenants Harbor, Maine.  It’s WAYYYYY out there!  It’s pretty much on a peninsula about halfway up the southern Maine coast.  The path there began nearly 500 miles earlier in Albany, N.Y.  That was the first of five video clues that were revealed one hour apart on the Dodge YouTube site.  The rest of the video clues led to Saratoga Springs, Lake George, Chestertown, and Schroon Lake, respectively.  (For summaries of each of the video clues, start here.)  Of course, those of us who had been deciphering the clues from the original commercial already knew the Journey was going to take that path.  In fact, we knew it was going to go even further east because of a photo Dodge released the night before the search officially began showing the ferry that crosses from Fort Ticonderoga to Vermont and a shot of the ferry landing in Vermont that appeared in the original commercial.  This is where it got interesting . . .

If you were to follow the road from the landing, Route 74, you would soon see an intersection that was also seen in the first video clue of the day (Route 74/73 and Route 22A).  At that location, there was a sign posted on a pole that read: “This isn’t the end.  It’s only the beginning.  We can’t wait to share where we went next.  The journey is within 350 miles from here.”  The clues continued with two slide shows at 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday showing places the Journey had passed on the way to its final destination.  Judging from the discussion on the Dodge YouTube site since the search ended, it appears a lot of people didn’t see these additional clues, which took searchers as far as Portland, Maine.  The final slide was a picture of the Time and Temperature Building there, except the word “CALL” appeared where the time and temperature usually does.  While this was part of an advertising campaign unrelated to the Dodge search, it actually led to the next round of clues.

Eventually the cameraman who was live at the location displayed a sign with a phone number.  It lacked an area code, but Maine only has one.  At this point, the contest left the armchair searchers behind and focused only on those who were physically in the hunt.  The phone number reached a recording that hinted at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset (of course, my good friend and fellow roadie, Sarah YO Cote, had figured that out much earlier when the cameraman ate a unique looking lobster roll for lunch).  When searchers got to Red’s, the “specials” sign in the window read “Life’s a journey, not a destination” along with a phone number.  And so it went — phone numbers leading to businesses with more clues, eventually leading nearly 80 miles further northeast to Rockland, Maine, where the final clue was in the window of a real estate office — a picture of the vacation property about 12 miles away.  You can see the location of clues from beginning to end here.

The first person to reach it was a young mother named Melissa.  Originally from Illinois, she recently moved to Virginia for her husband’s military assignment and made the trek by herself sleeping little, sometimes in her car on the side of the road.  Kudos to her!  She has been sharing her story on the Dodge YouTube site discussion board and it’s been an interesting one to read.

And so this journey comes to an end.  I do have some final thoughts about the East Coast search and the campaign in general, but I’ll save that for another post . . .

Found . . . in 29 hours!

Dodge Journey

Dodge has identified the final location as being in Tenants Harbor.  We’ll recap the journey, as soon as Dodge does!

Photos from the Road: Part 2 (UPDATED)

Dodge Journey

(The following post from Sunday, Sept. 25 has been updated with links and new site identifications:)

Looks like I ended my last post a couple of slides too soon.   The slide show providing us clues to the location of the Dodge Journey ended 100 minutes after it started, and the closing slide was the Time and Temperature Building in downtown Portland, Maine.  Its famous rooftop sign is now being using as an advertisement urging people to “CALL JOE,” a local attorney.

Meanwhile, a few things have been happening inside the barn/stable where the Journey is parked:  the cameraman fed some chickens (which occasionally come by to cluck), he ate a lobster roll (missed that, but my good friend and fellow roadie Sarah YO Cote was on top of it), he posted a life preserver, and the time clock has been replaced with what appears to be a phone number.  I wasn’t able to find the number, however — at least not using the Maine area code.

The photos from today’s slide show can be found here, although I noticed a couple were missing.  I’ve been able to identify more since the first time around (and also corrected some):

  • Unidentified road (presumably Route 4A)
  • Reflection of pine trees on the hood of the car (that’s something you don’t see often in New England!)
  • More unidentified road
  • Hominy Pot historical marker, Route 11, Crockett Corner, N.H.
  • I-89, sign for exit Route 13 (Clinton Street, Concord)
  • I-89, sign for I-93 junction and exit for 3A
  • Sign for end of I-89, Concord, N.H.
  • Intersection of Water and Hall streets, Concord, N.H.
  • I-393 bridge crossing the Merrimack River, east of Concord, N.H.
  • I-393, sign for exit 3 (Route 106)
  • Old car out for a spin, unidentified location
  • Road sign for routes 4/9/202 (Dover Road), east of Concord, N.H.
  • Johnson’s Seafood and Steak, Routes 4, east of Concord, N.H.
  • Piece Time Puzzles barn, Route 4, Northwood, N.H.
  • Junction 152 sign, Route 4, Northwood, N.H.
  • Welcome to Northwood and Antique Alley sign, Route 4, Northwood, N.H.
  • View from Route 4 right before crossing the Alexander Scammell Bridge, west of Durham, N.H.
  • Alexander Scammell Bridge over the Bellamy River, Route 4
  • Not sure what this is (perhaps a cover for road salt?), but it can be clearly seen using Google Earth; Shattuck Way, just past General Sullivan Bridge, Route 4, Portsmouth, N.H.
  • Unidentified (perhaps same area?)
  • Market Square, Route 4, Portsmouth, N.H.
  • Corner of State and Pleasant Streets, Portsmouth, N.H.

Note:  The following Portsmouth locations don’t seem to go in a logical order

Note:  The location of most of the following are unidentified, but we can assume they are on Route 1)

  • Welcome to Maine sign (location identified)
  • Organic Nurseries Home and Garden Center (location unidentified)
  • “Welcome, come as you are” sign (location unidentified)
  •  “Shawshank Prison” car, Woods for Goods, Route 1, York, Maine
  • Unidentified
  • Unidentified
  • Old gas pumps (Seashore Trolley Museum? Wells Auto Museum?)
  • Old bus, train, trolley car (Seahorse Trolley Museum?)
  • Seashore Trolley Museum, Route 1, Kinnebunkport
  • Unidentified dock
  • Moose crossing  (unidentified location, although I’m sure there can’t be many — geez!)
  • Barnards Tavern sign (unidentified location, though it should be easy)
  • Time and Temperature Building, downtown Portland, Maine