Lately, it has become an annual tradition among automakers to preview their Super Bowl ads on YouTube several days or up to a week before they air on broadcast TV during the big game. But this year, Chrysler kept mum about its plans, only confirming that it had purchased commercial time for the game.
Whereas previous ads from Chrysler, most notably "Born from Fire" Featuring Eminem and "Halftime in America" with Clint Eastwood, were themed around the company's hard-fought post-bankruptcy revival, the two spots shown this year from Jeep and Ram were more nostalgic, patriotic and triumphant in tone. Both also highlighted the respective divisions' support of charitable and educational organizations.
The Jeep ad started out with a dark screen and an orchestral soundtrack, with the words "We wait. We hope. We pray. Until you're home again," read by Oprah Winfrey. The ad goes on with scenes of homey, familiar surroundings such as family meals, dogs waiting to be walked, and children taking baths.
At the end of an ad, the URL of a mini-site for Jeep's Operation SAFE Return initiative is put on-screen. The project, done in conjunction with the United Services Organization is a fund providing financial, in-kind and hands-on support for returning troops.
The Ram ad, which ran later in the game, was a 2-minute long salute to America's farmers, with a stark, voice-only script taken from a monologue from the famous late radio broadcast personality Paul Harvey, with the theme "God Made Farmers." It was a slide show showing worn faces of farm hands, worked hands, tractors, livestock, and fields, ending with a shot of a Ram 1500. The URL shown at the end of that spot highlighted Ram's support of the National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America) in its support of its agricultural education and leadership development efforts.
While warm and feel-good, Jeep's "Whole Again" spot was not especially creative thematically, following the proven script for military tributes with plenty of flag waving, hugging, family dinners and kids missing Mom and Dad. Ram's "Farmer" spot seems to have more staying power and impact, and will likely be talked about for months to come. Whether it will be blockbuster award-winner that 2011's "Born from Fire" was remains to be seen. Which of the two is your favorite?