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Dodge “Pisses Excellence,” Features L’il Ricky Bobby in New Ad

“Remember my motto?” asks Reese Bobby. “Wake up in the morning and piss excellence!” answers a child Ricky Bobby while driving a Dodge Charger in a new ad campaign that riffs on the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

The boast isn’t just a casual reference to the movie—it nods to the very reason for the ad: Dodge was surprised to learn it came first in two recent J.D. Power studies on initial quality and driver appeal in the same year, a first for a domestic brand in decades. FCA executives told us they were emailing one another within seconds of the news asking if they should do a commercial to tout the milestone—a decision in the affirmative was made immediately, but it created a dilemma. The J.D. Power honorifics are serious big-boy awards with some gravitas, and that’s simply not how Dodge sees itself.

Dodge caters to the three percent of the market that wants an outrageously powerful car or SUV as a passion purchase, Dodge chief Tim Kuniskis says. Car sales continue to decline in general, but Dodge has a muscle-car niche that it continues to build on. “If your car is bigger and heavier than everyone else, what do you do? Add more power,” says Kuniskis, whose full title is “global head of Alfa Romeo and head of passenger cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat for FCA North America.”

New Song From AC/DC Debuts

As a smaller brand, Dodge lacks a big marketing budget, so it must stand out through its content, Kuniskis says. A serious ad with “real people” in khakis talking about the quality award wouldn’t pass the Dodge sniff test. There aren’t a lot of new movie releases or other pieces of fresh pop culture to align with these days, so FCA chief marketing officer Olivier Francois and his team used a previous advertising partnership with a Will Ferrell movie—2013’s Anchorman 2—as inspiration, ultimately landing on the NASCAR-spoofing Ricky Bobby story that spoofs NASCAR.

The first ad in the campaign, “Family Motto,” went live today on social media and versions of the campaign and the spot will appear digitally and on social media initially before eventually being aired on TV. It pulls quotes from the movie, including the tagline “If you ain’t first, you’re last,” while the music playing in the background is “Shot in the Dark,” the first new song released by AC/DC in six years.

Hint of What’s to Come for Dodge

Kuniskis also states there is an Easter egg in the ad that hints at something Dodge will announce shortly, which we believe is related to the Amazon Alexa logo featured on a close-up of the interior display. So, yeah, Dodge will be getting Amazon Alexa capabilities or its Uconnect infotainment system soon. (This also could mean the other brands with Uconnect infotainment—from Jeep to Maserati—will see the same upgrade.)

FCA is known for its creative ads under Francois, with irreverent ads for Dodge, Jeep, and Fiat linked to such movies as Anchorman 2, Groundhog Day, and Zoolander. The brand also has a long-running connection with the Fast and Furious franchise, and that will continue with Fast 9, which was initially scheduled to premiere in May of this year but was pushed to 2021 due to the pandemic.

Dodge also sponsors Roadkill Nights, an enthusiast event focused on muscle cars held each summer in metro Detroit as part of the Woodward Dream Cruise. It was cancelled this summer along with the Cruise itself, and it remains to be seen if it returns for 2021. Kuniskis hopes that it will, he says, and stated that Dodge has budgeted for its participation.


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