In one of Chevrolet’s most extensive partnerships with a musical artist, the brand uses John Legend’s new single “Made to Love” as the soundtrack for a breaking Impala campaign that kicks off tonight during Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
The Spike DDB spot starts out with black-and-white images of Legend drawing musical inspiration as he drives through New York City in a 2014 Impala. It transitions into color shots of the Grammy winner performing and of the product. Chevrolet has worked with musical stars before (including Mary J. Blige), but the Legend spot is tied directly to the release of the single and his new album, due in September.
“Impala has a special spot in American culture and Spike DDB came to us with an idea that we loved,” said Mary Kubitskey, Chevrolet national brand manager.
The commercial is part of a Legend-fronted campaign that will run the better part of a year that also includes radio, print, digital, social media and cinema. Spike DDB developed the concept with director Anthony Mandler of Believe Media, who created Legend's 2009 music video “Everybody Knows." The pitch will appear across general-market channels as well as African American-focused media, and runs concurrently with Impala’s other marketing campaigns.
In September 2010, Spike DDB was hired to handle Chevrolet’s African American advertising and has produced work for the market focused on models like the Equinox and Cruze. The shop has also developed crossover work including last year’s campaign tied to Major League Baseball that revived the brand’s iconic tagline “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.”
In other news, at the Cannes Lions festival yesterday, Paul Edwards, executive director, global marketing at Chevrolet parent General Motors, talked about the brand’s new crowdsourced campaign that marks its return to the Oscars telecast after a five-year absence. The brand will sponsor a contest inviting aspiring filmmakers within the MOFILM community to create their own 30- and 60-second narratives about cars. The global contest will be judged by Spike DDB founder and director Spike Lee, Chevrolet cmo Tim Mahoney and Chevy agency Commonwealth’s cco Linus Karlsson. The winning ad will run adjacent to the Academy Awards on March 2, 2014.