I think this one will hit harder for those of us who woke up early on Saturday morning to watch TNN Outdoors back in the late ’90s and early aughts. Chevrolet had one of the best automotive ad campaigns that lasted an entire 22 years: its Like A Rock commercials. “Oh, like a rock!”
These ads demonstrated the toughness, durability, and value of all Chevy trucks… as sold by the dulcet tones of Bob Seger. They were all over the airwaves on TV for a big chunk of time, there. Here’s a nice video on YouTube that contains most, if not all of them:
All of these are so great. ’90s fourth-gen Chevy C/K trucks hauling heavy loads on the job site, across the farm field, and through some of the most grueling conditions that Mother Earth has to offer. There’s a Dually sliding through thick mud, a Nomex-adorned racecar driver wheeling a Blazer through a slalom, a gaggle of dogs being released out into a field to go hog-wild doing dog things… good stuff. Chevy’s very clearly saying that these trucks will do everything, and haul everything. Most importantly: They’ll haul a lot of dogs in the bed.
If you need to tear down a windmill, bring a bunch of mining supplies up a sketchy mountain road, help a Ralph Fiennes-looking dude raise a barn, take your wife out to dinner while wearing a black ten-gallon hat… OK I’ll stop. Chevy just really covered all the truck-driving man-related bases with these commercials.
The music, too, my God does the music hit. I’m a sucker for an old-school Bob Seger track, especially one with heavy drum hits, sharp guitar licks, and choir-summoned harmonies. Seriously, some of the percussion in this track stacks up with some of the ’90s’ heaviest metal recordings. What better way to demonstrate heavy-duty than with hits like this? It seems like the whoever at Chevy who came up with putting two and two together here is a goddamned genius. Plus, you know, Bob Seger’s songs are almost more American than the pledge of allegiance.
“And more standard horsepower than Ford” is stated by the narrator in the first 1993 commercial — you have to appreciate such a rivalrous statement. Any form of Chevy vs. Ford is always entertaining, and a cornerstone to Americana.
Also, another bit of rivalry that I don’t think was intentional per se, was the usage of an Edward Hermann-sounding narrator (or, ersatz-Hermann) for the first Silverado commercial of 2000. Edward Hermann (RIP) was well-known for being the voice of The New Dodge, so he was the hype-man in a few Dodge truck commercials.
The Like A Rock campaign wasn’t lying, either, especially when it came to C and K trucks. These things are still around today, acting as faithful steeds to whoever works in sweat and mud, and is willing to pay it just a tiny bit of mechanical attention. Because that’s all they need to run for hundreds of thousands of miles.