DETROIT – Stellantis will air a 60-second Super Bowl ad for its Ram brand to indirectly take shots at the current all-electric vehicle market, specifically pickup trucks.
The commercial, called “Premature Electrification,” or “PE,” spoofs ads for male sex-enhancement drugs. It features electric vehicle owners discussing problems they’ve had with their trucks – from insufficient range and power to problems charging and other potential issues associated with EVs.
“Are you excited about buying an electric vehicle but worry that it could leave you … unsatisfied?” says the ad’s star and narrator Jason Jones, a comedian best known for his work on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and for appearing in comedic Budweiser and Molson ads. “Then you could be one of many Americans concerned about premature electrification.”
The ad debuts the production version of the Ram 1500 REV electric pickup that is expected to go on sale next year. Online reservations for the electric pickup, which debuted as a concept in January, also open Sunday. The vehicle resembles the concept but also the current Ram pickup, which has a traditional internal combustion engine.
Stellantis Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois, who has become known for unique and well-received Super Bowl commercials, said the main message is Ram’s electric pickup may not be the first to the market, but it’s going to be worth waiting for compared to the current offerings.
“We have an incredible truck that’s electric that can really deliver on what truck people want a truck to do, so ‘wait, wait and see’ is the meaning of the ad,” he told CNBC. “That’s our pitch.”
When the electric Ram arrives to market, it’s expected to join an increasingly crowded yet relatively unproven segment that includes the GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning and Lordstown Endurance. Others such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra Denali and Tesla Cybertruck are expected to be on sale by next year or sooner.
“We are on an exciting electrification journey that will see Ram push past the competition in areas customers care about the most: range, payload, towing and charge time,” Ram Trucks CEO Mike Koval said in a release.
The ad is unique compared to most of the company’s Super Bowl spots under Francois, who has aired many thought-proving commercials and convinced celebrities not known for being in ads such as Bruce Springsteen, Bill Murray and Eminem to rep the automaker and its vehicles or brands.
The demeanor of the commercial is similar to a 2015 Super Bowl ad aired under Francois by Fiat Chrysler – a predecessor of Stellantis – that followed the path of a little blue pill that an amorous Italian man accidentally loses as he attempts to swallow it.
“It’s lighthearted,” Francois said. “I think it’s just a need. We’ve been through a lot – from Covid to the war in Ukraine to inflation and recession. People want comedic relief.”
Francois said the commercial is not meant to make light of anyone who takes male enhancement drugs. He said the “spoof” ad is aimed at the commercials for the prescription drugs and the current electric vehicle market.
Much like a real pharmaceutical commercial, viewers should pay attention to the fine print. In addition to confirming symptoms of premature electrification aren’t real but “certainly worth talking about,” it says “range-lengthening technology” mentioned in the ad for the vehicle will “come later.”
Jeep and the ‘Electric Boogie’
The Ram ad is scheduled to air in the fourth quarter of the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. Before then, the automaker also will air a 60-second ad for its Jeep brand during the second quarter, focusing on its “4xe” Wrangler and Grand Cherokee plug-in hybrid electric SUVs.
The Jeep ad is a much more traditional Super Bowl ad, featuring dancing animals along with the electrified Jeeps. Where it’s unique is the music. The commercial features a remixed version of the 1983 hit “Electric Boogie” by Marcia Griffiths. The song, also known as the “Electric Slide,” was initially recorded by the late Bunny Wailer in 1976.
“The two ads are not pursuing the same objective,” Francois said. “While Jeep is all about pushing the 4xe plug-in hybrid technology … to really push sales, Ram is a totally different thing. We have nothing to sell right now. It’s an investment on the brand itself.”
Griffiths is featured on the new version of the song along with Grammy Award winning reggae artist and producer Shaggy and others. Stellantis is releasing the song Sunday on streaming services.
The “Premature Electrification” and “Electric Boogie” ads were created in partnership with Chicago-based agency Highdive. Both ads were released online Sunday ahead of the Super Bowl.
Stellantis declined to release how much it spent on the ads. The cost of a 30-second commercial is approaching $7 million, according to Kantar Media.