Chevrolet's Real People Commercials Are Once Again Pitting Silverado Against F-150

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
chevrolets real people commercials are once again pitting silverado against f 150

With the July 10 launch of a new Chevrolet Silverado commercial, General Motors is once again using its Real People, Not Actors campaign in an attempt to tarnish the Ford F-150’s good name.

This methodology doesn’t appear to have had an impact in the marketplace in the past. Yet two years after General Motors displayed conversations between Howie Long and GM engineer Eric Stanczak discussing repair costs on the Ford F-150’s aluminum bed and one year after Chevrolet punctured a Ford F-150’s aluminum bed with 825 pounds of concrete blocks, General Motors is turning to admitted Ford F-150 owners as a means of casting aspersions on America’s top-selling full-size truck.

After earlier rounds, Ford gained ground in America’s full-size pickup truck market in 2016. Indeed, Ford is continuing to gain ground in that same market in 2017. Ford is selling more trucks than its rivals. Ford is selling more trucks with less incentivization. Ford is selling more trucks with less incentivization at higher average transaction prices.

So, GM sends the Chevrolet Silverado back to the same ol’ well.

To be fair, not all Real People, Not Actors commercials are equally bad. From the ghastly Emoji Cruze ad to the Malibu at the Glass House to the painful hipster variant, plenty have been awful. But more recently, GM seemed to have found its way, running a Chevrolet Equinox campaign in which people don’t manage to slap Chevrolet with a backhand compliment, in which competitors are only digged with subtlety at the end of the commercial.

Regardless of how in-the-know car enthusiasts feel about the ads, GM believes they work. In fact, GM is operating under the assumption that the ads work, in part, because the viewer knows what to expect. “For the foreseeable future, we don’t have a change in mind.”

Attacking the core element of America’s best-selling vehicle lineup, however, is an entirely different matter. It’s like going after Tom Brady for deflategate. He still won the Super Bowl, and he’s still gonna win another Super Bowl.

Sure, maybe there are vast swathes of America that don’t like Tom Brady, that wouldn’t buy a Tom Brady if Tom Brady could be bought. But you’re still attempting to win a losing argument against the guy who will beat you.

The latest Chevrolet attack on the Ford F-150 involves a camouflaged Silverado, F-150 owners who apparently didn’t buy Ford’s bed ladder system, who were seemingly unaware when they purchased their aluminum F-150s that they could have purchased a truck with the same kind of steel bed that’s been part of the truck world since 900 B.C., and who pretend to know what an automatic locking rear differential does.

These F-150 owners were evidently easy to sway. Consumers who don’t appear in General Motors’ ads? Not quite so easy.

Through the first six months of 2017, GM has seen its total share of America’s full-size pickup truck market, including the Sierra, fall to 32.3 percent from 35.5 percent in the first half of last year. Not only is the entire Ford F-Series line outselling the GM full-size twins, F-Series volume is greater than the entire GM truck lineup, midsize pickups included.

Meanwhile, over a three-month period spanning March, April, and May, the Chevrolet Silverado wasn’t even America’s second-best-selling truck. FCA’s Ram P/U stole the silver medal position.

Maybe the Ram 1500 is the pickup Chevrolet should be attacking. Rotary shifters? Ecodiesel? RamBoxes and those narrow beds?

Puh-leeze. Real people might not like that at all.

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2 of 81 comments
  • Akear Akear on Jul 21, 2017

    GM trucks are rubbish too. What a disgrace!!!!

  • Gkhize Gkhize on Aug 01, 2017

    I seem to recall a story here on TTAC that GM would be moving to aluminum body panels on their trucks in the future. If that's in fact true, aren't they being a little disingenuous slamming the Ford? I also agree with earlier comments; tell me why I should buy your product, not what's wrong with someone else's. Seems to me you're hiding something when you do that. Also, that new Equinox commercial bugs me because it shows a totally tricked out new vehicle so the people they put in it think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread and better than their vehicle. GM neglects to point out that the Equinox they are sitting in probably costs $10K more than the 'real people's' cars, so of course it seems better.

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