Let’s face it, there aren’t high expectations when you call a series of brand videos “trustamonials.” But as I dove into the first of nine documentary-style short films from SapientNitro for Ram Trucks, I was surprised. Instead of feel-good testimonials about how great Ram Trucks are, the five-minute stories are a compelling look at real Texan Ram Truck owners, not just talking about how many miles they’ve put on their trucks, but how the Rams have become woven into their lives and part of their families.
Texas. Sure, those of us on the coasts like to make fun of it. But deep down, there’s something peculiarly American about the state. Bigger than France. Home of the mythical cowboy. The state that gave the world J.R. Ewing. And also home to that most American of vehicles, the pickup truck.
“With one out of every five Ram Trucks purchased in Texas, we wanted to bring the brand to life by capturing and sharing personal user stories in a creative and compelling way,” Alan Pafenbach, creative director at SapientNitro, commented. “We traversed the state of Texas to show the intimate connection between individuals and their Ram Trucks.”
It succeeds with these beautifully shot customer stories that are heartfelt and honest. Granted, I couldn’t help but laugh at the segment called Confidence, when a gentleman with a visible tin of dip in his pocket told his story about getting kicked in the face while shoeing a horse. But the other stories were well told. The brand integration was clear but not so over the top that it ever made me cringe.
What impressed me most was hearing and seeing real owners of Ram Trucks with engineers from Ram showing how those trucks perform in real-world situations. If you were to walk into a car showroom and hear some slick salesman use some of the dialog from these videos, you might feel like taking a shower afterwards. But the same conversation, authentically taking place between engineers and truck owners was incredibly powerful and convincing. No spec sheet required for these vehicles. You get all the info you’d need out of the story, and that’s something more advertisers could learn from. SapientNitro and Ram struck a great balance between telling heartfelt, honest stories and presenting technical information about engines, suspensions, and other car and truck stuff that I found way more interesting than I ever expected.
Overall, though, as Sam Elliot says at the beginning of each video, “In the world of trucks, there is what’s claimed, and there’s what’s proven.” And SapientNitro proved they know how to tell some great stories about people who love their trucks.
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