Country Music Helps Sell Pickups

It’s practically a cliche: a well-worn lone pickup truck runs on an empty stretch of road and pulls alongside a calf caught in some fencing. A rugged and bearded middle-aged man in a plaid shirt and faded jeans steps out, untangles the calf and smacks it on the butt, sending it in the direction of its mother. Fade to the pair reuniting in the pasture. All the while plaintive, repetitive country music plays in the background. Ugh.

Or a young woman holding a bottle of beer dances in the bed of pickup to the melancholy lyrics of a country-western song; she twists and turns with one arm up, her knees bents, cutoff jeans snug over suntanned legs. Also a big ugh.

Whenever they can, pickup truck makers love to push the country spirit in commercials, preferably with a twanging guitar in the background in an attempt to lure new-truck customers to dealerships or the latest pickup marketing event. In our collective mind, pickups and country music go hand-in-hand.

It’s no surprise that most of the big pickup makers have some kind of western-themed trim package to take advantage of this tie-in; in fact, profit margins on these well-equipped models are usually quite high. That’s why all the truckmakers produce a special-edition vehicle for the State Fair of Texas or offer a cowboy themed edition — i.e., Ford’s King Ranch, Toyota’s 1794 Edition and Ram’s Longhorn.

Here are other examples of how country music and pickup truck makers have joined forces.


Ford has a longtime relationship with country-music superstar Toby Keith, who was on hand at the introduction of the previous-generation Super Duty pickup at the State Fair of Texas. He’s the odds-on favorite celebrity to be on hand when Ford gives journalists the first chance to drive the all-new aluminum-bodied 2017 Super Duty later this year. Ford also sponsors the Professional Bull Riders association, and if there’s anything more cowboy-centric than that sport, we don’t know what it is. More recently, Ford has teamed up with country singer Drake White, sponsoring his “Livin’ the Dream” community service tour.


Ram has been connected with country music for many years, sponsoring events, concerts and special giveaways with the likes of Easton Corbin and Miranda Lambert, two of the biggest names in country music. Lambert was part of the Ram 1500 giveaway program that raised money for her favorite charity, MuttNation Foundation, dedicated to stopping animal cruelty. Ram also is a major sponsor of the Academy of Country Music Awards each year and the associated Party for a Cause Festival. The event gives country music artists a chance to connect with fans in an intimate outdoor setting while raising money for the ACM Lifting Lives program that benefits veterans. Of course, Ram always has a test-drive area where marketers collect mountains of data from country music fans and potential buyers. Check out the Chris Stapleton’s video; he’s driving a Ram 1500.


Toyota has sponsored the Stagecoach country music festival for last 10 years in the Colorado Desert a few hours outside Los Angeles. Patterned after the monster Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival held in the same area, Stagecoach is a multiday, multivenue feast of country music concerts. Toyota also sponsors the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth in Australia, one of the largest music events of its kind in all of Oz.

Editor’s note: This story was updated May 16 to correct Ram’s affiliation with the Academy of Country Music Awards’ Party for a Cause Festival and to remove an incorrect mention of Chevrolet’s involvement with ACM’s festival. 

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