Dodge’s New Advert Is a Good Prequel to Talladega Nights

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Did your 2020 Bingo card include “a branded prequel to Will Ferrell’s 2006 film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”? No? Ah, too bad, because that would have been quite an impressive feat of prescience.

Dodge today dropped a minute-long spot called “Family Motto” that shows a moment from the childhood of future fictional Nascar driver Ricky Bobby (played in the original film by Ferrell) and lifelong friend Cal Naughton Jr. The one actor returning to his role is ageless Hollywood chameleon Gary Cole, playing a younger version of Ricky’s dad, Reese Bobby.

The spot, from agency GSD&M, is a joyful and occasionally meta romp, with the action stopping just long enough for the young actors to explain that children aren’t really driving muscle cars in reverse at high speed.

The spot is actually a bit of a multi-brand potpourri, with officially sanctioned references to Mountain Dew and Shake ‘n Bake, while also promoting AC/DC’s new reunion single, “Shot in the Dark.”

“In our 60-second film, we needed to stay 100 percent true to the spirit of the original film, while simultaneously communicating the Dodge brand’s record of ‘firsts’ as ranked by our owners,” said CMO Olivier Francois. “Maintaining brand authenticity extended beyond Sony Pictures, including our music alliance with Columbia Records and AC/DC, in addition to Gary Cole reprising his role as Reese Bobby, and having the original movie’s cinematographer, Oliver Wood, involved with this project.”

The spot ties Reese Bobby’s dubious catch phrase, “If you ain’t first, you’re last,” to the brand by pointing out Dodge’s No. 1 ranking in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study and J.D. Power Consumer APEAL Study.

The vehicles featured in the ad are the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye, 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock and 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. 

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