We’re glad to welcome yet another monthly contributor to the fold in the form of Chuck Hipsher, currently a Houston-based freelance creative director who’s worked at the likes of Campbell Ewald, TBWA and what was FCB back in the day. If you wanted a story from the trenches, here you go. We should note that these opinions don’t necessarily reflect those of AgencySpy’s, but feel free to love or hate in the comments thread. By the way, you can read Chuck’s blog here.

I was fortunate enough to have worked on the Chevy Silverado brand from 2005 –2008 at then-Campbell Ewald in Warren, Michigan. I was the Creative Director who led the charge on the “Our Country. Our Truck” campaign.

John Mellencamp’s song, “Our Country” played a decisive role in that campaign’s birth because, frankly, then-CCO Bill Ludwig slid the studio demo cd across the table to me one day during creative development and said, “See what you can do with this, Chuck.”

Coming from the guy who was instrumental in the famous “Like A Rock” and “Heartbeat Of America” campaigns for Chevy, I was nothing – if not obligated, to listen and try.

Early on, we had terrific research and planning information at our disposal on what the Silverado brand meant to the people who cared. It was work extensively mined by one Ted Klauber (the greatest planner in America, btw) and his team months in advance of the creative start.

Ted and team had travelled to a half dozen or so locales throughout the country and interviewed countless truck owners of all brands, not just Chevy. They came back to Detroit and crunched their info and finally decided this: “Chevy truck drivers are everyday heroes. And the Chevy Silverado is their Big Metal Dog.”

That insight immediately sparked the minds of myself and the creatives working with me. We had an early war room with ideas on the wall that rivaled anything I’ve ever seen produced by ANY agency on ANY automotive brand. EVER.

But then there was that Mellencamp thing.

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