By Richard Truesdell
Chrysler's Ram brand is drawing upon America's national parks heritage to target 3 million outdoorsmen in the biggest, most important market for new pickups — Texas — with a retro-themed ad campaign that showcases the 2013 Ram.
The four ads, which resemble fine-art posters, will appear in a hunting/fishing guide for outdoor enthusiasts in Texas, a huge recreational market that’s home to prime pickup truck buyers. In the guide, Ram Truck joins other national advertisers, including Nikon, Bass Pro Shops, Geico, Dick's Sporting Goods, Whataburger and Wal-mart. Ram is the exclusive automotive sponsor in the guide. Two of the ads are full-page ads; the other two are double-page ads.
The ads were designed by the Anderson Design Group in Nashville, and they follow, in spirit, the color theme and illustration style of posters from the Works Project Administration. The New Deal agency was created after the Great Depression, and its Federal Art Project promoted the natural beauty of America’s parks. This program put starving artists to work and produced some of the most iconic posters ever created in the United States.
"This was the perfect opportunity to take a different creative approach,” said Olivier Francois, Chrysler's chief marketing officer. “The use of vintage type styles, hand-rendered illustrations and muted color palettes creates a nostalgic approach to advertising art that we hope will resonate with consumers just as the original posters helped romanticize each national park destination."
It’s almost ironic that Americans need to be reminded of our rich national-parks heritage by a man who once said, “I'm a Frenchman working for an Italian company, Fiat, managing an iconic American brand, Chrysler.” Francois is also credited with green-lighting the famous “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl commercial featuring Eminem, a TV spot that many credit with being one of the key turning points in Chrysler's remarkable turnaround from its 2009 bankruptcy.
These new ads feature renderings of the Rio Grande Valley, Balanced Rock, Enchanted Rock and Lighthouse Rock, using them as backdrops for the Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition Outdoorsman, Ram 2500 Power Wagon, Ram 1500 Lone Star and Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn. Like any good marketing program, the posters highlight Ram attributes that distinguish the trucks from the competition.
“Ram trucks are an essential tool of the trade for the avid outdoorsman,” said Fred Diaz, Ram’s president and CEO. “The ads make an impactful statement about the beauty of Texas, my home state, while showcasing features hunters and fishers need in their trucks, including a powerful Hemi V-8 engine, towing capacity, all-terrain tires and versatility, combined with interior styling and luxury.”
Chrysler spokeswoman Kimberly Shults shed more light on the Ram pickup story with regard to the Texas market. “In calendar year 2011, Texas represented 16 percent of all U.S. large-pickup registrations. Texas pickup truck registrations were nearly three times larger than the next largest state, California. Three of the 10 largest metro market areas for large-pickup registrations are in Texas: Dallas, Houston and San Antonio,” she said.
“It's also important to note that Ram is celebrating its 10th anniversary of selling the Lone Star model in Texas, a truck designed specifically to appeal to Texans,” Shults continued. “And Ram has continued to draw inspiration from the Texas pickup customer, as seen in the Laramie Longhorn model released in 2011.”