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If you own a Jeep, you know there’s a certain bond among drivers. They wave to each other. They argue and nitpick about the benefits of particular models. And lately, for some reason, they’re putting rubber ducks on each other’s door handles.
Traditionally, the ducks are placed there by other Jeep owners, sometimes with a friendly note and the customary hashtag (#jeepducking or #duckduckjeep), sometimes with the duck on its lonesome. It’s a fairly simple process — but, as with everything, there’s a TikTok tutorial, like this one by @desiredezzi.
@desiredezzi The How to video assignment! #fyp #Jeep #wranger #jeepwave #duckduckjeep ♬ Vermilion, Pt. 2 – Slipknot
Fortunately, there are no official rules. The duckee can either spread the love by passing the duck on to another Jeep or keep it as a traveling companion. As you can imagine, there are some Jeep owners (like @duck_that_jeep) who are pretty proud of their collection.
@duck_that_jeep Anyone else relate ? 🙃 Make sure you gives us a follow for more jeep content !! #DuckOnJeep #jeep #jeepmama🤗 #badassjeepcheck #jeeplife #duck #jeepgirl #fyp #wrangler #duckduckjeep #jeepforlife #jeepwrangler #jeepmama #duckthatjeep #jeephairdontcare #duckedjeep #ducksoftiktok #4you ♬ Original Mii Channel Theme – VideoGameOST
Like any good viral trend, the practice of Jeep ducking is delightfully random. According to Motor Trend, the craze was started by a Canadian Jeep driver named Allison Parliament who, after experiencing a frightening encounter with someone earlier in the day, spotted someone with a decked-out Wrangler. She spontaneously wrote “Have a great day” on a rubber duck she had just bought and handed it to the owner. It was her own quirky way of reconnecting with people in the wake of pandemic-induced isolation. The amused recipient told Parliament she should post a picture of the duck online, and a modern tradition was born.
“For me, it’s about making other people smile,” Parliament told the Wall Street Journal. “Everything felt like it was falling apart for lots of us and the ducks were a simple way to say, ‘Hey you’re not alone.'”
It didn’t take long after that initial gift for the practice of Jeep ducking to sprout its own hashtag and even special rules. Some duckers (including the admins of Facebook’s Duck duck jeep group) insist they should only be placed on classic Jeep models like Wranglers. Others say that they should only be reserved for especially tricked-out Jeeps. However, the movement seems to have outgrown this kind of gatekeeping, and many people still seem delighted when they get ducked.
— Ed Placencia /// BrewDailys (@edplacencia) July 9, 2023
For those who might be suspicious that this is all some clever marketing ploy, neither Jeep nor its parent company Stellantis have taken credit for bringing the practice of Jeep ducking to prominence. They’re certainly not above embracing it, though. At last year’s Detroit Auto Show, they welcomed visitors to the Huntington Place Convention Center with an inflatable duck more than 60 feet tall.
Inevitably, some savvy marketers have been known to use the practice of Jeep ducking to advertise their business or services, and manufacturers have picked up on the trend — you can buy Jeep-shaped ducking notes on Amazon and packs of rubber ducks with a grill and headlights printed on the front, like this pink duck Christopher Simpson found on his new Jeep.
— Christopher Simpson ⛵️🚴🏼🇺🇸🇨🇦 (@bflo1964) July 15, 2023
For the most part, though, the ducks have remained a simple, silly way for Jeep aficionados to give an anonymous “hello” while also building community around their car of choice.