It's been rated as one of the best commercials of this year's Super Bowl: the Ram Truck "So God Made a Farmer" ad. But, even as the commercial wins praise from viewers, the media and yes, farmers, Ram may have a problem on its hands.
"Chrysler really wants you to know that Dodge and Ram are no longer a single brand, but that has yet to sink in with the American public, at least based on the reaction on social media on Super Bowl Sunday," writes the Detroit Free Press. "Ram's two-minute ad for its pickups immediately generated buzz during the game but a lot of those compliments were directed at Dodge rather than Ram."
Ram trucks used to be models built by Chrysler Group's Dodge brand. In 2009, Ram became its own brand, selling the Ram 1500 and Ram HD pickup trucks. The change allowed Dodge to focus on its car, SUV and van models.
It's not just on social media where Ram has had trouble differentiating itself from Dodge. Some media outlets seem to not have gotten the news that Ram is its own brand. In its story on the reaction of Iowa farmers to the ad, the Des Moines Register refers to "Dodge Ram's tribute to agriculture."
Bleacher Report writes that, "Super Sunday lacked the kind of commercials that leave a lasting impression on viewers, or at least it did until a commercial break during the fourth quarter of play when Dodge ran a two-minute ad for its Ram line of trucks."
Chrysler Group, who owns the Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Jeep and FIAT brands in the U.S., has recently made a habit of attention-grabbing Super Bowl ads. In 2011, a Chrysler ad featured Eminem and the hardscrabble resilience of Detroit. Last year, Chrysler's "Half Time in America" ad featured Clint Eastwood and set off a political storm as some commentators saw it as a plug for the Obama administration's bailout of the automotive industry. This year, a Jeep Super Bowl ad that focused on military veterans and was narrated by Oprah Winfrey also gained attention.
Still, the Ram ad may not give Chrysler Group the payoff those other ads did. Though the automaker's previous ads got attention for its brands, Yahoo! Autos writes that "no automotive nameplate needed the attention more than Ram: Chrysler's decision to make Ram its own brand has so little traction to date that after the spot aired, Dodge became a trending topic on Twitter instead." Yahoo! Autos also notes, "In rural America, Ram trucks have been a perennial third choice behind Ford and Chevy/GMC, but the new models have enough technology and interior accoutrements to make a play for owners from both camps willing to consider a change. Celebrating farming puts Ram in the minds of pickup truck owners who might not have given the brand a chance before."
Even though consumers and the media misidentify who the Ram ad belongs to, it might not have a major impact on Ram truck sales. Ram sales were up 16 percent in 2012 compared to 2011. Most Ram trucks are still sold out of Dodge dealerships, so consumers who think Ram is a Dodge model will still likely go to the right place to buy one.
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