Mellencamp Sings for Silverado

CHICAGO Having ditched its “Like a Rock” theme a few years ago, Chevrolet returns to a musical anthem to advertise its Silverado truck.

The new campaign from Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald, which includes both traditional and nontraditional elements, introduces the theme “Our country. Our truck.” Television ads will feature a new song from John Mellencamp entitled “Our Country,” and will be used through at least 2007. Lyrics include: “I can stand beside ideas I think are right. I can stand beside the idea to stand and fight. I do believe there’s a dream for everyone. This is our country.”

“This partnership with Chevy—an American company that is creating jobs and supporting our communities—makes perfect sense for a song that is all about standing up for the working people who are the backbone of our nation,” said Mellencamp in a statement.

Print inserts launch in USA Today this Friday; TV spots begin on Saturday. One TV ad features the song with images of men working and onscreen text. One shot shows a man looking at an anvil, while on-screen text reads, “This is our concept vehicle.” Another shows the American flag waving and the words, “This is our proving ground.”

Bill Ludwig, chief creative officer of the Warren, Mich., agency, first heard the song as a demo while the shop was creating the campaign. “I knew the minute I heard the song that would be the music for the next epic Silverado campaign,” he said in a statement. “We hope that ‘Our country. Our truck’ will inspire people to think, ‘Yeah, these are the bruises and scares that have shaped our nation, and we have rebuilt ourselves spiritually, emotionally and physically.'”

Though the work is themed, “Our country. Our truck,” Chevy’s over-arching brand tagline, “An American revolution,” remains.

This is not the first time the automaker has employed a popular rock artist to promote its trucks. For 13 years, from 1992 to 2005, Campbell-Ewald used Bob Seeger’s anthem “Like a Rock” as the theme for Chevy Trucks. The theme was discontinued in favor of placing the trucks under the same brand-umbrella “American revolution” tagline as Chevy’s cars.

The agency also created a 28-minute infomercial narrated by former NFL star Howie Long and a 24-page publication that will be polybagged with magazines like Motor Trend, Field and Stream and Popular Science.

Promotional events will include a three-day caravan from the State Fair of Texas to the Farm Aid Concert in Camden, N.J. Along the way, the caravan will make stops to raise funds for the organization (founded by Mellencamp) and collect non-perishable food items.

Spending on the effort was not disclosed. General Motors spent just over $185 million on advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.