Desert Dreamscape Is a Dissonant Backdrop for Showcasing the Power of Ram Trucks

The Richards Group kicks off "The Power Has Shifted" campaign for 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

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Truck ads have long relied on revving engines, peeling tires spattering mud and other generally loud devices to showcase pure horsepower, often accompanied by a rock soundtrack.

Ram grabs your attention in a different way in its new ad showcasing the distinctive power of its 2021 Ram 1500 TRX truck, going with a tactic of surprising, and effective, restraint.

The cinematic “Sandman” spot from Dallas-based agency The Richards Group relies on capturing the mood of a desolate desert landscape, setting the scene with shots of a serpent slithering through sifting sands and lumbering lizards grazing through the vast barren expanse. Soon, the 1500 TRX emerges from a large sand plume and tears through the desert landscape, seemingly unrestrained by the harsh terrain.

The raw power of the vehicle contrasts with the restrained focus on nature and a somnolent soundtrack. It would have been easy to lean into loud revving engines, drag racing and off-road machismo, pairing them with loud guitar-heavy music, long cliches of the category. Instead, the spot is set to SYML’s down-tempo, dreamy rendition of the oft-covered Mr. Sandman, the Pat Ballard-penned 1954 song popularized by The Chordettes and The Four Aces.

“Sandman” kicks off the agency’s “The Power Has Shifted” campaign to introduce the 702-horsepower Ram 1500 TRX. The ad will be supported by teaser and post-reveal content on Facebook and Instagram, as well as YouTube preroll.

The Richards Group has been creating ads for Ram for over a decade, and has a tradition of taking an approach for the brand that stands out from the pack. “Sandman” is something of a spiritual successor to, and further evolution of, the agency’s “Farmer” ad for Ram, which Adweek named the Best Ad of Super Bowl 2013. The agency explored similar territory with its 2016 Thanksgiving ad, “Praise.”

“Sandman” is also arguably the most high-profile spot thus far for what could be categorized as a new era for The Richards Group, following founder Stan Richards naming Glenn Dady as his successor late last year.

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@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.