My Name Is Ram. My Ad Is Dumb

December 1, 2009


I’m usually pretty generous with my assessments of marketing efforts. It’s a tough business and I don’t want to be throwing stones at hard-working, creative people. None of us bats 1.000. But the Dodge Ram ad in heavy rotation right now sets my teeth on edge a little.

You know the one: “My name is Ram. My tank is full.” If you’ve watched any network TV or football in the past couple weeks, you’ve probably seen it a dozen times.

How do I not love it? Let me count the ways.

  • It’s too high-concept, too existential, too far up in the clouds. I’m as sick of vehicle commercial cliches as the next guy; I could live without seeing yet another car skidding sideways on a rain-slicked road. I get that it’s tough to come up with something new. But I don’t think this hits the target audience’s sweet spot. “I am Ram and I will kick your ass — now, THAT might do the job.
  • The voiceover. This is the first Ram ad by Dallas-based shop Richards Group after snagging the account, and agency founder Stan Richards decided to handle the VO himself. Sorry, Stan — Hal Riney, you ain’t. It may have worked for Saturn 25 years ago, but you sound like an aging high school biology teacher.
  • The message. It’s too easily confused with the new Jeep campaign, also recently launched (and by a different agency): “I live. I ride. I am. Jeep.” Jeez, give me five gallons of coffee and a box of Nicorette, lock me in a room for the weekend and I’ll come up with better taglines than those two, and for a helluva lot less dough.

Ad Age says the Ram campaign is the first phase in a three-part blitz that will eventually tie together and make all us doubters look like fools. I’ve been made a fool of before, but I’m not counting on it this time.