- Ram Truck, the brand marketed by Stellantis, will supply at least five emerging bands with a touring van throughout 2021 as they hit the road again, according to a press release. The Ram BandVan program was introduced in 2018, but is now accounting for disruptions related to the pandemic.
- The stories of each music group will be documented across the brand's YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and featured on a dedicated website, RamBandVan.com. Radkey, the opening act on the Foo Fighters' current tour, are the first artists to participate in the Ram BandVan Back To Live Tour initiative.
- SiriusXM and Pandora — long-standing Ram partners — are presenting sponsors on the music-minded program. The effort builds on a "Spotlight" campaign Ram rolled out in May that focused on the Foo Fighters, with two ads narrated by frontman Dave Grohl.
Ram is trying to capture some of the excitement around the return of live music with its latest iteration of the Ram BandVan concept. The initiative supports emerging bands that have struggled following a year-plus of dealing with COVID-19-related disruptions, supplying each with a ProMaster vehicle equipped with SiriusXM channels. The automaker plans to turn their stories into a steady flow of digital and social content throughout the year, angling to connect with fans eager to hear the latest from their favorite artists following a quiet period.
Narratively, the program ties back to a larger "Spotlight" campaign Ram has been running with the Foo Fighters that launched as the rock band started touring its tenth album, "Medicine at Midnight." That push was noteworthy for landing among the early brand efforts to adopt a post-pandemic messaging outlook. Ads soundtracked by songs like "Making A Fire" featured no masks or social distancing, as reported in Forbes, with an overall bent toward feel-good aesthetics.
The Ram BandVan Back To Live Tour attempts to thread the needle with that level of optimism, but arrives during a very different pandemic period in the U.S. compared to the spring. The highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 and a plateauing of vaccinations against the virus have led to the reinstatement of restrictions that seemed in the rearview just a few months ago. Major bands including K-pop group BTS and Nine Inch Nails this week canceled their tour plans for the remainder of 2021 in a grim sign that the end of the pandemic is farther away than many consumers had hoped.
While some venues are now requiring proof of vaccination, the enforcement of health measures is patchwork around the U.S. Many brands are struggling to strike the right tone in their marketing messages as a sense of optimism that swelled earlier in the summer starts to cool. Fifty-five percent of surveyed consumers said they were pessimistic about the state of the country in a July poll conducted between ABC News and Ipsos. That marked a steep drop from May, when the groups found just 36% said the same.