2013 Jeep, Ram Super Bowl Ads: Whole Again and Year of the Farmer

Throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII, Chrysler maintained silence about its 2013 Super Bowl advertisement plans. There were no teasers, no plot, no hint of any celebrity involvement like the past two years revealed. Just plenty of secrecy coming out of Detroit.

Then, as soon as Beyoncé’s halftime show had wrapped, Chrysler teamed up with the United Service Organizations (USO) for a two-minute tribute entitled “Whole Again” that was narrated by Oprah Winfrey to introduce the Jeep brand’s “Operation SAFE Return” (OSR), whose objective is to “galvanize community support for service members and their families worldwide.”

oprahAgainst a dark, blank screen the advertisement began simply with this message: “We wait. We hope. We pray. Until you’re home again.” — Oprah

Later, in the fourth quarter, Chrysler aired “The Year of the Farmer” featuring its Dodge Ram brand truck. The voice-over featured legendary radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, celebrating the hard work of farmers. It was lifted from a 1978 speech — “So God made a farmer” — Harvey gave to the Future Farmers of America. (Ram is donating money to the Future Farmers of America with each viewing of the ad. )

In “Whole Again,” set to a heartfelt, patriotic backdrop featuring music from the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” Winfrey tugs at our collective heartstrings when she intones: “When you are home ... we are more than a family ... we are a nation.”

“We are a nation that is home, again,” said Winfrey, saluting America’s military families.

Throughout, we see emotion-tugging images of U.S. military men and women being embraced by family members as they arrive home from overseas tours of duty just in time for the Super Bowl. There are a lot of tears of happiness and joy emoted during this advertisement.


In conjunction with Operation SAFE Return, Jeep is donating $1 million in funding and vehicles to the USO for programs which support returning U.S. military service members and their families. At the conclusion of “Whole Again,” the site Jeep.com/OSR was prominently shown. (Chrysler is a long-time donor to the USO.)

“For the past two years, we have used the largest television viewing audience to highlight the pride, the resilience and the determination that form an integral part of the American character,” said Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO of Chrysler, in a statement released after the advertisement aired.

In a statement released after “Whole Again” aired, Winfrey said: “It was an honor to lend my voice in support of those that serve us all.”


Within moments of the airing of “Whole Again,” Twitter was ablaze with responses that were both positive and negative.

  • Stareagle tweeted: “Between the Oprah-USO-Jeep commercial and the Farmer-Dodge-Ram commercial, Chrysler is going for heartstrings tonight.”
  • Alex_E_Carr: “Not buying Chrysler ad blitz. Oprah, Paul Harvey, service members, ‘God made a farmer’ to sell cars.”
  • Nastedunx: “So after Oprah and Paul Harvey, gotta be Maya Angelou for #Chrysler, right?”
  • dailybreezeME: “Between the @Oprah Jeep ad and the “God Made a Farmer” truck ad, I think we can definitely say @Chrysler won this #brandbowl.”
  • R: “Chrysler’s use of Oprah for Vets and Jeeps and Paul Harvey for Ram Trucks and Farmers. Can’t be accused of being un-GOP this year.”
  • shoppergirl21: “I'm a Chrysler employee & proud of our products & that ad. Thanks for the support of troops & Chrysler workers.”

Allpar note: Many comments on YouTube were harshly critical, claiming that Jeep was moving production to China — a canard spread by a misquote which has gained a life of its own.

“Whole Again” was a bold, albeit risky, idea for Chrysler, but their execution turned out to be excellent. By remaining coy, Chrysler assured itself of maximum impact when its advertisement for Jeep, created in partnership with Global Hue of Southfield, Mich., aired at the end of the Super Bowl’s highly-promoted halftime show featuring singer Beyoncé.

Just exactly what did Marchionne have in mind that he wanted to accomplish and convey to the nation’s biggest TV audience watching the biggest sporting event of the year? For one, the Jeep brand has been designated by him to be a global brand for both Chrysler and Fiat. Also, last year, Jeep enjoyed record sales of its SUVs worldwide, selling more than 701,000, the most in its history. Also, not lost on history is the fact that the Jeep, sometimes called one of the most important American military innovations of the war, was ubiquitous during during World War II.


Chrysler’s Super Bowl silence was bound to give Chrysler’s highly-anticipated advertisements major impact. After all, each of the other auto makers who advertised during the Super Bowl XLVII broadcast on CBS at a tune of $4 million for each 30-second slot — Kia, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai, Toyota, Lincoln and Fiat — released their Super Bowl ads in advance of Sunday’s Big Game. And, in no time, these teasers went viral, enabling each of Chrysler’s competitors to generate social media buzz on Facebook and Twitter.

On its website, Forbes.com contributor Dale Buss wrote: “Chrysler has said essentially nothing about what’s up its sleeve for Super Bowl XLVII. That silence — combined with the huge impact of the company’s last two Super Bowl advertisements — sets up the ‘reveal’ of the Chrysler ad on Sunday as one of the biggest moments of the entire evening.”

In 2011, Chrysler surprised everyone with its “Imported From Detroit” ad featuring Eminem.

Meanwhile, last year, Chrysler turned to a (surprisingly and unintentionally) politically controversial but impressive “Halftime In America” theme that was narrated by Clint Eastwood.

Both the “Imported From Detroit” and “Halftime In America” advertisements garnered Chrysler tremendous publicity, thanks in part to the celebrity presence of Eminem and Eastwood, and both clearly stood out among all Super Bowl advertisements, not just those aired by other auto makers. And, now, Winfrey’s “Whole Again” will be long remembered for its tribute to the sacrifices made by the service men and women of the U.S. military.

Momentum is definitely building for Chrysler as it has been getting the word out, albeit expensively, for its various models and brands.

The bottom line is Chrysler and its superstar CEO, Marchionne, have amazed everyone in the U.S. auto industry. Last week, Chrysler unveiled record-earning numbers, which included a full-year 2012 net income improvement of more than eight-fold to $1.7 billion; net revenue and sales both rose 20%, to $65.8 billion (2.4 million cars).

Like Jeep, Chrysler’s overlying theme of its successful advertising campaigns, indeed, is: “The best of what we’re made of.”

A transcript of the “Whole Again” advertisement

The advertisement begins with the following message across a blank, dark screen: “We wait. We hope. We pray. Until you’re home again.” — Oprah

According to Nielsen, 48% of TV-watching households watched the 2013 game; the average audience was 108 million viewers, down from 113 million in 2012.

Then, Oprah Winfrey narrates:

There will be a seat left open, a light left on, a favorite dinner waiting, a warm bed made.
There will be walks to take, swings to push, and baths to give.
On your block, at the school, in your church.
Because in your home, in our hearts, you've been missed.
you've been needed.
you've been cried for, prayed for.
you've been the reason we push on.
Half the battle is just knowing this is half the battle.
Because when you’re home, we’re more than a family.
We are a nation that is home, again.

As the patriotic-themed background music reaches its emotional crescendo, a black female soldier’s face lights up the screen and super-imposed are the words: Proudly supporting our nation’s heroes.

Then, as a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited drives down a residential street in what could be Anytown, U.S.A., the underlying theme of the advertisement highlights the screen: The best of what we’re made of.

2013 Super Bowl ads: Forum discussion • Year of the Farmer • Bill Cawthon on the Super Bowl ads
Also seeImported From Detroit • Halftime in AmericaChrysler ads

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