There’s nothing more American than a country song about long-haul trucking. At least, that’s the rough calculus behind a new ad from Mack Trucks, featuring an original tune by Nashville-based artist Steve Moakler.
In “Born Ready,” a four-minute commercial made in the style of a music video, Moakler croons about rolling down the blacktop with two hands holding the wheel steady, while the Stars and Stripes wave around overhead.
True to the song’s title, which is also the brand’s tagline, it’s a paean to hard work, and a celebration of the automaker’s new Anthem model. In the clip, a young girl counts the days until her father, who’s out on a run, comes home. This is a modern truck, though, and the dad is no absentee slouch.
An internet connection lets him stay in touch with his daughter, getting updates on her grades while she checks the weather on his route. They even FaceTime, and do yoga (he’s much worse at it than she is, naturally).
Overall, the ad is an expertly produced piece of propaganda about sacrifice, dripping with patriotism but paying homage to a lifestyle that, despite being glorified, still doesn’t come across as particularly glamorous (however well appointed or comfortable that cab might be, relatively speaking). That’s to the creators’ credit. It’s hard to find fault with a nod to blue-collar values, so long as the truckers are paid well enough, and not spending too long on the road without resting. And the profession is, in its way, key to the country’s functioning.
In other words, Mack seems clear on its target audience, and is speaking right to them. The sponsorship, organized by G7 Entertainment Marketing, follows on Moakler’s 2017 album Steel Town, which celebrates Pittsburgh, where he grew up. (The agency, part of independent network Project Worldwide, is based in Nashville). A behind-the-scenes video offers some approachable insight into his process, and how he relates to the truckers he’s writing about.
As for Moakler’s song, it’s tightly written, and accessible on first listen, as you’d expect from pop country. That said, it’s also its own flavor. There probably won’t be any Swedish pajama brands rushing to set their surreal romantic electronica getaways to it anytime soon.
Mack Trucks Creative – Mark Urmos (creative direction, all Mack truck footage)
Remedy Creative – Hunter Airheart (BTS footage of Steve in the studio)
G7 Entertainment Marketing – Strategy Lead: Niki Tyree
Mack Trucks – Nicole East, Program lead / Kim Pupillo, Mack PR
CAA – Megan Sykes, Sponsorship Agent
Creative Nation – Brandon Gill, Management
This piece originally appeared in Adweek. Read it here.