Fiat Chrysler airs big ad for Thanksgiving NFL games

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will air a Super Bowl-style ad for its Ram Truck brand during NFL games on Thanksgiving that praises American workers — from farms to factory floors.

The 90-second spot — titled “Praise” — features people from different walks of life at their jobs alongside “precious moments” of their daily lives before and after each workday. It ends with the tagline “Praise the Work” and hashtag #RamGivesThanks.

“It is a very strong message. It is extremely tied to the attributes of the Ram brand — hard work, dedication, integrity,” global Fiat Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois told The Detroit News. “Ram is not just a truck brand. It stands for something.

“I thought it was a good idea to remind the American audience of what Ram stands for on that special day, which is Thanksgiving.”

The commercial will air during two afternoon NFL games, including the Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings at 12:30 p.m. Thursday on CBS. The ad takes cues from previous Super Bowl commercials from the automaker — particularly “Farmer” from 2013 — by showing picturesque scenes with little direct advertising for the products.

Ram pickups are quickly seen five times prior to the ad ending with one of the brand’s Limited models with a prominent “Ram” chrome grille. Until that point, a voice-over throughout the ad poetically “praises” the people and their work.

“Praise the line worker, and the line. Praise the floor man, and the floor. Praise the second shift, early Saturday,” he says. It ends with, “praise all who sacrifice time at home for the one day dream of their children’s lives outside of it. Praise the workers. Praise the work.”

Super Bowl

Francois contends the Thanksgiving ad as well as others during major events, such as the American Music Awards earlier this week, are not the company “moving away” from the Super Bowl. He said the company aims “to run Super Bowl-quality videos outside the Super Bowl” as a way to effectively utilize its ad dollars.

“In this moment, I am not moving away but I am more focused on these many other places where you can be focused and be able to make a big statement about your brand with still a big crowd, and at a more-effective cost,” Francois said, adding it’s “too soon” to talk if the automaker will advertise during the Super Bowl in 2017.

The automaker has been a trendsetter for Super Bowl advertising beginning with the 2011 “Born of Fire” ad featuring Detroit rapper Eminem for the Chrysler 200. Since then, the company has aired at least two minutes of ads for nearly all of its brands, including two 60-second ads celebrating Jeep’s heritage during Super Bowl 50 in February.

Francois said there “are many more opportunities” to air effective advertising for the company’s brands. He cited nearly 55 million viewers — about half of Super Bowl 50 in February — watched the Thanksgiving football games in 2015, according to Nielsen ratings.

“There are a bunch of big media properties that are still great, and I’m pretty sure that we’re going to keep using them as long as you have the right message and level of connection,” Francois said. “And Thanksgiving is something new for us.”

The automaker in 2011 did air a new commercial on Thanksgiving for its “Imported From Detroit” campaign for the Chrysler brand, however it was not exclusively for Thanksgiving like the new ad, which will only air on Thursday.

During the American Music Awards on Sunday, the company aired another ad for Ram that also featured people at work but with a more upbeat, funny tone. It was set to the song “Work from Home” by popular girl-group Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla $ign.

“They are connected through this hard-work, value,” Francois said. “It is probably the one attribute that makes Ram unique to our other brands.”

Thanksgiving parade

Ram also will air a 30-second ad during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, of which the brand is the “official truck” for a second-consecutive year.

The truck brand provided the parade with about 70 trucks and commercial vans, many of which are used for behind-the-scenes functions leading up to the parade start.

The parade commercial is an existing ad called “Power Outage” for the Ram 1500 that was “tailored especially for the Thanksgiving audience,” according to a company spokeswoman. It includes a new song titled “Glow” by country music singer-songwriter Brett Eldredge, who will be performing in the parade from a float.

The parade is broadcast live beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday on NBC.

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Twitter: @MikeWayland