Ram Tugs on Heartstrings with Veteran-Honoring TV Commercial
Spot includes WWII Vet and his F6F Hellcat fighter planeby Mark McNabb, on
Ram is no stranger to creating heartwarming, tear-jerking TV commercials. The latest is titled “Airplane Rescue” and depicts an aging WWII veteran and his ambitious grandson driving a Ram 1500 Limited through an airplane graveyard in search of a Grumman F6F Hellcat Navy Fighter. The pair find the plane in a dilapidated condition covered in weathered rags and pelted with desert sand. Using the Ram 1500, the fighter plane is towed into a hanger for restoration. Ram debuted the 30-second TV spot on May 20, 2017 to celebrate Armed Forces Day.
Making the fictitious commercial more interesting is its true back-story. The veteran is Art Frankel, a real-life retired member of the Army Air Corps. He served in WWII as a topographic draftsman assigned to draw maps of territory from an airplane flying above. The fighter plane is actually one of only five surviving F6F Hellcats still in flying condition. The Hellcat was the U.S. Navy’s primary carrier-based fighter in the second half of WWII in the Pacific Theater. It’s powered by a 2,000-horsepower Pratt & Whitney radial engine and was armed with six, M2/AN Browning .50-caliber machine guns in the wings. The airplane is also the namesake for the supercharged, 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8 offered in several Fiat Chrysler vehicles.
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The commercial is the latest in Ram’s continuing series called “Long Live Ram.” Like the other advertisements in this series, “Airplane Rescue” doesn’t talk trucks. Rather, the commercial makes an emotional connection with audiences in ways horsepower specs and towing stats simply can’t. Set to a re-recording of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” the fictitious story between this WWII veteran and his grandson pulls at heartstrings making viewers see the Ram truck in a more human light – as if it’s owned by such loveable characters.
Other examples of “Long Live Ram” commercials include “Tunnel,” “Higher Calling,” and “Skate.” Each commercial ends with a deeply voiced quote along the lines of “Long live honor, valor, brotherhood, and long live Ram Trucks.” In “Airplane Rescue,” the voiceover says, “Long Live honor and Long Live the truck that salutes those who built this country.”
Perhaps the most memorable of Ram’s TV commercials is “Farmer,” the Super bowl commercial from 2013 wherein photos of hard-working farmers and ranchers with Ram trucks quietly placed in the background are spoken over by the smooth voice of the legendary radio host, Paul Harvey. The commercial won numerous awards and currently has more than 22 million views on YouTube.
The 30-second version of “Airplane Rescue” debuted for Armed Forces Day on NBC’s coverage of the Preakness horse race. A 60-second version will be released on Monday, May 29 in conjunction with Memorial Day. Along with the F6F Hellcat, the commercial features dilapidated aircraft at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The airplane graveyard serves as a recycling center for old aircraft and as a parts-bin for items no longer in production.
Read our full review on the Ram 1500 Rebel here.