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Why is it that no ad agency can really “get” a pickup truck?
Full disclosure: we’re old agency crags, so take that with a grain of free-range pink Hawaiian volcano salt, and we’re also gearheads and on top of that, we don’t feel quite human without a pickup truck in our lives, so there’s that, too. But dammit, Chevy’s Silverado just can’t seem to find a shop filled with creatives who understand the properties of alchemistry between a guy and his truck.
This latest spot – the one with John Cusack doing the voice-over work on a hangover and a smoking habit – is just the latest frustration for us: camping with your kid? Yeah – in a comfy SUV you don’t have to worry about all your camping gear getting soaked in an open bed by that beautiful water-truck rain in. A trip to the mountains for that get-away the kid’s iPad signal can’t find him on? Sure – and you don’t have to go out and go $60K in debt on a new truck to do it when you still have a year of payments left on your Forester.
Matter of fact, there’s nothing in this new spot by The D office of Leo Burnett that couldn’t swap out the new Silverado for a used Tiguan and claim the exact same “experience.” But there’s some great shit one can experience in a truck – let’s say, for the sake of argument, a new Silverado – that one just couldn’t experience in anything else.
The pickup truck is uniquely American and we’ve seen ad agencies, rained down on by automaker hundies, try as hard as they can to knock one of the greatest-selling vehicles on the planet – a Ford F-series pickup – off it’s pedestal for years to no avail. Why? Well, for two reasons, actually: 1) the creatives usually have no instinctual idea about what makes a pickup truck essential to the American Experience and 2) a budget that can choke the ego of a skinny-jeaned art director enables laziness. As we’re pretty sure Silverado will find out soon enough, quoting Virgil, shooting nine glorious days in Big Sky Country and wasting the pure talent of John Cusack does not a needle move.
We distinctly remembered what happened when we drove our buddy’s new Silverado and it really opened our eyes. We also know what kind of adventures we got ourselves into precisely because we were driving our own trucks. We also know what kind of interesting strain of human being buys a brand-new pickup and we’ve seen what that being will do with/to/because of it.
Get to the meat of what makes a pickup truck essential to living the good life, tell a great story and make a compelling argument. Then, sell a truck. But this beautiful bit of forgettable bullshit? Well, we’re guessing it got some agency creatives out of the office on a fairly remarkable fishing trip…uh, TV shoot. Like our favorite Creative Director, Nick Gisonde, once said, “You put the Eiffel Tower in enough of your storyboards, sooner or later, your ass is going to Paris…”