You want to know that the pickup you’re dropping a pretty penny on is worth its salt, even if it’s going to be treated like a luxury sedan. It’s what you’re buying it, right? Truckmakers know that, and they’ll show you just how tough their offerings are. It’s what they’re best at.
Welcome to Ad Watch, where you’ll get to see some of the most fun, imaginative, and outrageous car commercials out there and we’ll try to pull back the TV magic to show you how they work on the inside.
Ever since Henry Ford doubled the consonant at the end of Model T and created the pickup truck as we know it today, the competition between the big truck makers has been fierce. Torque ratings, towing capability, and even the shape of the steel beams that form a truck’s frame have been sticking point in some of the fiercest rivalries on or off the road. A big part of that is the way these trucks are advertised.
Dropping bundles of plywood in the bed from dizzying heights, pulling outrageously oversized trailers meant for trucks with Kenworth or Mack on the hood, competing in outright tugs-of-war against the cross-lot competition. It’s all in a day’s work for a truck, at least if it’s on your TV screen. These are the kind of stunts that fuel urinating-Calvin levels of rivalry, and they’ve become an American tradition of sorts.
The stunts used to sell pickup trucks have become stranger and more extreme each year as more and more trucks find their way into suburban driveways for commute duty while the selection of actual work trucks on offer dwindles. The spectacle of testing the limits of pickup truck capacity has become so recognizable that even the White House has recently given it a shot, demonstrating that these stunts are beyond parody. But they’ll continue because truck buyers want to know what their trucks might be capable of, even if they’ll never test those limits themselves.