Foo Fighters’ Grohl — And His Mom — Usher Ram Into Post-Covid Ad Era

Foo Fighters’ Grohl — And His Mom — Usher Ram Into Post-Covid Ad Era

Dave Grohl is an actual rock star. But one of the stars of the new advertisement for Ram trucks, titled “Rock Star,” is the mother of the Foo Fighters frontman and a former school teacher. Virginia Hanlon Grohl exemplifies the everyday “rock stars” that the Stellantis brand is celebrating in a new national campaign that joins an important pivot by the U.S. marketing industry to a post-pandemic outlook.

The campaign, under the overall rubric, “Spotlight,” is notable in part because it could have been shot in 2019: There are no masks or social distancing lending a Covid vibe to the goings-on. The atmospherics are deliberate, said Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer for Stellantis, who like his peers has treaded carefully through the various attitudes demanded by the course of the pandemic — and how Americans felt about it at any given time.

“I’m not sure we would have even done this [campaign] if we weren’t essentially in the aftermath of the pandemic,” Francois told me. “That is what brings an extra element of relevance to it. We felt that we didn’t need to portray the pandemic at all. One year ago we were commiserating with consumers, being part of what was happening and providing advice about being safe.

“Now, no one wants to be reminded. All the advice has been given. So we are ‘after.’”

In fact, “Spotlight” provides some of the same feel-good thematics that helped Ram rise into a close competition with Ford and Chevrolet pickup trucks in the decade since Fiat Chrysler Automotive split Ram from Dodge in 2009. The point is to tie the Ram brand, products and owners to mentors and leaders who help everyday people through their struggles — making them a sort of “rock star.” They include parents, family caregivers, coaches, teachers (like Hanlon Grohl) and others.

The spot that just broke in time for Mother’s Day features Grohl in a Ram 1500 and his band. He narrated another commercial included in the launch of Ram’s “Spotlight” campaign, titled “Overtime”; a third commercial will debut later this month. The spots are set to “Making A Fire,” the opening track of the band’s 10th album. The Ram campaign also coincides with two new projects directed by Groh: “From Cradle to Sage,” an unscripted series on Paramount+ based on a book by Hanlon Groh about the mothers of rock stars; and a feature-film documentary that’s a sort of love letter by Grohl to ambitious musicians.


The latter project is perhaps surprisingly relevant to Ram because Foo Fighters’ story began 25 years ago when they piled into a Ram van and headed out on the road. “That kind of authenticity is something you can’t invent,” Francois said. “When it is that authentic, [Foo Fighters’ involvement] isn’t an endorsement. The brand and Foo Fighters are basically endorsing each other; it’s not buying someone to try to sell your product. That’s important to us.

“Since the beginning of the Ram brand, we’ve only had two slogans: ‘Guts and Glory,’ and ‘Built To Serve.’ They were always about seeing our customers as everyday heroes. This campaign displays the same values.”

Published at Sun, 09 May 2021 22:26:06 +0000

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