Girls Love Big 'Ole Trucks and Country Music Too

"In the auto marketing space, the rugged pickup often takes on the role of a grown man's toy. Ads typically show male drivers hauling heavy loads or tackling uneven terrain in the wilderness while a deep-​voiced narrator touts the pickups' towing capacity and toughness. But Fiat Chrysler's Ram truck brand has been breaking that marketing mold to seize what it sees as an opening among female pickup buyers. And it's using the country music scene as the backdrop," Vince Bond Jr. reports.

Ram reaches out to women who love country music, so why aren't more truck brands? "In recent years, Ram has built relationships with country music stars such as Miranda Lambert and Kellie Pickler to broaden its appeal," Vince Bond Jr. writes. "Ram has engaged country music fans with exclusive concerts and online hubs through Yahoo and "Rolling Stone" magazine that feature behind-​the-​scenes moments with artists and other content." "The brand also used Lambert in a stereotype-​breaking Ram ad this spring highlighting the courage of women — a spot with an all-​female cast and narrator."

For one thing, the brand says, there's the natural demographic overlap between those who drive pickups and those who listen to country music. Then there are the growth opportunities in building loyalty among women, who are more open to pickups than marketers might expect. According to IHS Automotive, the share of female pickup buyers has been relatively steady since 2010 at around 12.5 percent of all self-​reported pickup registrations. But in 2015, IHS says, year-​to-​date registrations by women have jumped to about 14.4 percent, with Chevy gaining the most market share. Marissa Hunter, director of U.S. brand advertising for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, says there are some markets, Texas in particular, where sales of full-​size pickups to women outpace the national average.

"The selection of Lambert, a Texas native, as a brand ambassador was a twofer," Bond reports. "Not only is the award-​winning singer popular among women and men, she's a home-​bred hero who resonates in the truck-​heavy Texas market." "Miranda was perfect because she represents all of the females out there that are breaking stereotypes and doing things differently," Hunter said. "She's obviously confident. She's empowered. She represents all of the things we celebrate from a brand perspective. She's inspiring to young girls and women."

"Ram and Lambert sparked a frenzy among country listeners when she wrote a custom song for the brand called "Roots & Wings," which she performed during her concert tour this year," according to autonews​.com. "The song peaked in the top 5 on the iTunes chart despite receiving no radio play — a testament to Lambert's star power." Ram unveiled the song's official music video on its YouTube channel in May, and it has drawn more than 2.5 million views to date. At its core, the video is a Ram ad, but it's done in an artistic way that would suit Lambert's fans, said Jeff Summers, senior manager for Ram brand advertising. "We were looking for a way to get out to her fans and our fans [with] something that meant something to her," Summers said. "Roots & Wings" was "something she wrote on her own without a lot of direction, very much inspired by what our brand stands for."

Your truck dealers need to jump on this trend! Encourage them to target female truck shoppers in general, but then go the extra mile with tie-​ins to country music! Use AudienceSCAN data on AdMall by SalesFuel to help make your case. 34% of Pickup Truck Shoppers are women, and 23% are aged 25 to 34. 40% of truck shoppers said their favorite type of music is country. They are 109% more likely than average shoppers to love watching CMT and 78% more likely to watch GAC. Tie into the country lifestyle: 16% intend to buy boots or western wear in the next year; and 27% live in small/​rural towns. You could recruit up-​and-​coming country artists in your area and post the music-​led video to YouTube – 52% of Pickup Truck Shoppers were viewing there in the past 30 days. AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.