With their tongue-in-cheek Super Bowl ad, entitled: ‘Premature Electrification,’ RAM Trucks set out to tackle the issue of range anxiety in electric vehicles. RAM cleverly used innuendos and witty wordplay to suggest that their forthcoming electric pickup truck will surpass competitors’ offerings.
Though many labelled it the best commercial for the night, the ad’s lighthearted approach has sparked both laughter and debate, raising questions about the boundaries of humour in advertising and the portrayal of electric vehicles.
So, who was the brain behind RAM’s ‘Premature Electrification’ ad and how was it received among viewers?
What is premature electrification?
The term “premature electrification” is the title of a humorous commercial for the truck brand, RAM. The clever ad for the monster trucks, which premiered during the 2023 Super Bowl, takes a lighthearted approach to poke fun at the current state of the electric vehicle (EV) market, particularly in the pickup truck segment. The ad draws inspiration from commercials for male sex-enhancement drugs and uses innuendos to suggest that RAM’s electric truck, which is set to be released in the future, will outperform its competitors’ offerings.
The commercial begins with a narrator, Jason Jones, a comedian known for his work on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”, introducing the concept of “premature electrification”. He presents the idea that some people may be excited about buying an electric vehicle but worry about potential dissatisfaction due to issues commonly associated with EVs. The ad humorously plays on the notion that premature electrification might leave customers unsatisfied or unfulfilled.
Throughout the ad, various EV owners are featured discussing their problems with electric trucks. They highlight issues such as insufficient range and power, difficulties with charging and other potential concerns. The ad employs comic elements, with the EV owners using language and expressions that indirectly allude to male performance enhancement, linking it humorously to the electric truck experience.
The commercial cleverly contrasts these problems faced by electric vehicle owners, with the promise of RAM’s upcoming electric pickup. RAM positions its electric truck as the solution to the perceived shortcomings of its competitors. While not explicitly providing details about their electric truck prototype, the ad suggests that RAM is still working on perfecting its product and is aiming to deliver a truck that will surpass the current offerings in terms of performance, capabilities and customer satisfaction.
RAM’s message in the ad revolves around the idea that while its electric truck may not be the first to hit the market, it will be worth the wait. By using the theme of premature electrification and employing humour, RAM aims to generate anticipation and excitement for its upcoming electric truck release.
It is worth noting that the ad was meant to be light-hearted and does not make light of individuals who use male-enhancement drugs. Instead, it parodies the style of those commercials and playfully mocks the current state of the electric truck market.
RAM’s ad showcases its confidence in its future electric truck offering and positions it as a strong contender in the growing market for electric pickups.
Who created the premature electrification ad?
The “premature electrification” commercial was put together by automobile giant, Stellantis, to showcase their new RAM 1500 REV electric pickup scheduled to go on sale in 2024.
Stellantis is a multinational automotive corporation that was formed through the merger of two major automotive companies, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Groupe PSA. The merger was completed on January 16, 2021, making the firm of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world.
Stellantis operates as the parent company for several renowned automotive brands, including Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, Ram and Vauxhall. These brands have a rich history and bring together a diverse range of vehicles catering to different market segments and regions across the globe.
RAM is an American automobile brand known for manufacturing trucks and commercial vehicles. With a strong focus on ruggedness, durability and capability, RAM has established itself as a prominent player in the truck market.
The history of RAM traces back to 1981 when Dodge, then a sub-division of Chrysler, introduced a line of pickup trucks under the “RAM” name. These trucks were initially marketed as the Dodge RAM and gained popularity for their powerful performance and distinctive styling. Over the years, RAM trucks developed a loyal following and established a strong identity.
In 2009, Chrysler underwent significant restructuring due to financial difficulties, leading to the formation of Chrysler Group LLC. As part of the restructuring, the RAM brand was separated from Dodge to create a distinct truck-focused division. The move aimed to sharpen the brand’s image and allow RAM to concentrate on developing and enhancing its truck lineup.
Since its establishment as a separate brand, RAM has made considerable strides in the pickup truck market. It has focused on producing trucks that cater to the needs of various consumers, including enthusiasts, workers, and commercial users. The trucks are renowned for their robust capabilities and innovative features.
The RAM lineup consists of a range of trucks, including light-duty, heavy-duty and commercial models. The popular light-duty RAM 1500 offers a blend of refinement, versatility, and towing capability. It boasts a spacious and luxurious interior, advanced technology features, and a selection of powerful engine options. The RAM 1500 has garnered praise for its smooth ride quality and impressive fuel efficiency, making it a favourite among truck buyers.
Reaction to the premature electrification ad
The “premature electrification” ad by RAM has elicited diverse reactions from the public. While some viewers found it humorous and appreciated its approach to addressing range anxiety in electric vehicles, others criticised it.
The mixed reactions can be summarised as follows:
- Humour and effectiveness: Some viewers found the ad amusing and effective in highlighting the issue of range anxiety in electric vehicles. The ad’s use of humour and a well-known movie reference captured their attention and engagingly delivered the message.
Following the 2023 Super Bowl, several social media users shared their reactions.
A Twitter user, @Nirangasumana, wrote: “It is a great ad for Ram imo. It is funny. Stokes people’s fears about electric vehicles. It plays well for their customer base. They asked their customers to enjoy gas trucks and wait for their electric truck that will be available when time is right.”
- Outdated stereotypes: Critics argue that the ad perpetuates outdated stereotypes about masculinity and electric vehicles. The analogy between premature electrification and erectile dysfunction can be seen as insensitive and reinforces harmful notions about masculinity.
- Insensitivity: Some viewers found the ad offensive and insensitive, as it equates the fear of premature electrification with erectile dysfunction, which is a personal and sensitive issue for many individuals.
- Lack of thoughtfulness: Some reactions also point to a broader concern about the need for more thoughtful and inclusive messaging in the advertising industry. Critics argue that the ad could have been more considerate in its approach to addressing range anxiety without resorting to offensive or outdated stereotypes.
Below are a few tweets from social media users expressing their displeasure regarding the commercial.
The Dodge Ram “premature electrification” spot was truly awful – reinforcing range anxiety around EVs broadly in service of selling a specific extravagantly wasteful EV truck to insecure men. Everyone involved should feel ashamed of themselves.
— Caleb Heeringa (@CalebHeeringa) February 13, 2023
Imagine if the ad played on women’s issues instead of men. Something about women aging or gaining weight after kids. It’s always OK to slam guys these days…
— JXR (@jxrbot) February 12, 2023
Overall, the “premature electrification” ad has sparked a debate about the portrayal of electric vehicles in advertising and the importance of delivering messages that are both engaging and inclusive. It highlights the need for advertisers to be mindful of the potential impact and implications of their creative choices, ensuring they align with current societal expectations and values.