A popular used Chevy Silverado for sale, a silver 2019 Chevy Silverado, is shown parked on a city street.

A Comprehensive Look Back at the Chevy Silverado Commercials Over the Years

Classic commercials aren’t always something we think about in our free time, but some commercials from the golden days of primetime television can definitely hit the right nostalgic buttons. Car commercials aren’t exempt from fitting into this category, and that’s going to be the focus of this article: a comprehensive look back at the Chevy Silverado commercials throughout the years. The right look, the right model, the right music… They can go a long way in making us feel all warm and fuzzy inside when it comes to our potential attachment to a vehicle.

We’re taking a trip down memory lane to look at some of the classic Chevy Silverado commercials leading up to the current model years. Will they be nostalgic enough to convince you to buy a first-gen Silverado or search through auction sites or search dealerships for a used Chevy Silverado for sale? Maybe… maybe not, but at least we can reminisce on the good old days to see how well the Silverado has stacked up over the years with its commercials, and it all starts with a power ballad.

The Silverado’s Very First Commercial Was Solid Like a Rock

The 1999 model year debut of the Chevy Silverado was a significant one. The very first commercial for the debuting Chevy Silverado 1500 introduced it as a strong, capable, bigger truck than what Chevy had produced previously in the half-ton segment. It’s an interesting commercial because it starts with a cowboy falling off his horse, which freezes in midair, and then he finds himself wandering through the hillside with other cowboys until he discovers a silver Silverado. The double cab, smooth lines on the profile, and focus on the truck’s stature did a lot to sell the visage of the Silverado during its debut. There was also another strong selling point, and that was how it was presented.

The most significant part about the debut commercials and the Silverado’s presentation was obviously the music. The slow motion B-roll footage matched up perfectly with Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock,” which was actually a legacy-carrying nod to the Chevy C/K, a long-running series of trucks that was getting ready to be phased out during the early aughts.

The C/K line had been paired up with Seger’s popular power ballad since the early part of the fourth generation of the pickup truck’s marketing run. Starting in 1991, the song had been paired with the Chevy brand, specifically the trucks. Chevy maintained the use of the song for the Silverado commercials all the way up to 2004. They retired Seger’s “Like a Rock” until a very brief use of the song for an anniversary marketing stint in 2013, where it was brought back for the 2014 model year Silverado that launched the start of the third generation.

Starting Off the Marketing Strong by Showcasing Its Awards

One of the first mainstream commercials for the truck came with a very important accolade: It won MotorTrend’s Truck of the Year Award. This was not to be taken lightly, especially considering that the Silverado was facing stiff competition from the Ford F-150 and Dodge’s reinvigorated Ram series, which had been steamrolling through the sales charts since the mid-1990s. Chevy picking up a big win from MotorTrend gave the Silverado a silver bullet of authenticity coming right out of the gate, and the marketing team ran with it for some of the first Silverado commercials.

The commercial wasn’t bombastic or over-the-top. It was a proper 30-second montage of a silver Silverado in a double cab format, plowing through mud in a four-wheel drive configuration as it kicks up dirt while trekking through the uneven terrain. The commercial makes it known that the Silverado had the most powerful V8 in the light-duty, half-ton category, and that’s true.

The competitors, the F-150 and Ram 1500, did not compare to the Silverado 1500’s most powerful V8 option. The F-150’s 5.4-liter V8 topped out at 260 hp and 345 lb-ft of torque. The Ram 1500’s 5.2-liter V8 topped out at 230 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The Silverado 1500, however, had three different V8 options, with the most powerful being the 6.0-liter, making 300 hp at 355 lb-ft of torque. Of course, the Ram 1500 also had the V10 Magnum as an available option, but if we’re talking strictly V8s, the Silverado won.

Redefining the Half-Ton Role of the Chevy Silverado With Howie Long

The “Like A Rock” motto was an absolutely iconic one for the Silverado; it was a nice juxtaposition to Ford’s “Built Ford Tough.” However, from 2004 onward, they opted to move away from the legacy slogan and tried experimenting with something more “hip” which some might consider to be “culturally relevant” for the budding generation of drivers looking to get into truck culture. This saw a string of commercials built around the slogan of the Silverado being an “American Revolution.” The grunge rock anthem replaced the more classic power ballad to indicate that the Silverado was ready to embrace a younger and hipper shopper.

For a brief stint, Chevy had actor and sports star Howie Long appear in a couple of Silverado commercials for the 2006 model year outings. These commercials were for the Silverado 1500 and Silverado HD series, talking up the power and capabilities of the trucks’ powertrains. The commercials were more spec-based and tried to play up the humor of Howie trying to get men to be more manly – something to match the prowess of the Silverado. They obviously lacked the flair and the memorability of the more classic Silverado commercials, but it was obvious that Chevy was trying to find a new tone to match the marketing slogan they were running with for the Silverado being an “American Revolution.”

A Truck For Everyone… and for the End of the World

There were two significant ads for the Chevy Silverado for the 2008 and 2012 model year outings. The first was the “My Truck” ad, featuring a rather sentimental look back at how long various types of Chevy trucks have lasted over the years and the owners who drove them. This is a very rare type of commercial that really resonated with the Silverado’s sentimental value due to its long-lasting appeal and excellent utility. This commercial does a fantastic job of highlighting what made so many Americans fall in love with the truck, which they felt was durable, like a rock. It seemed like a missed opportunity to not have Seger’s song in there somewhere because it would have fit perfectly.

The second significant ad during this time was the 2012 model year ad called “End of the World,” which ran during the Super Bowl. This is a hilariously creative and dark ad that pokes fun at the doomsday messaging surrounding 2012. Earthquakes, meteor storms, giant alien robot invasions, and frogs raining from the sky make up some of the timely yet comedic elements sprinkled throughout the ad. The real laugh-out-loud moment comes from a grim yet comedic gesture that the party’s one missing friend didn’t make it because he was driving a Ford instead of a Chevy. As I said… it’s grim, but you can’t help but laugh at the way the message is framed.

A Third-Generation That Goes Back to the Strong Roots

For the new third-generation Silverado, Chevy opted to go back to the roots for the ad campaigns that ran throughout 2013. Grounded in patriotism, hard work, and blue-collar appeal, the new generation Silverado – introduced via the 2014 model year – had a commercial that was very classic Americana. Farmland, fatherhood, and friendliness were the ad’s themes, clocking in slightly longer than some of the previous ads. It wasn’t just about how much the Silverado could tow or haul or how much more durable it was than a Ram or F-Series truck. The theme was bonding man and machine with dedication, grit, and willpower. It’s an old-school, masculine approach to the Silverado’s presentation, which highlights its American appeal.

The significance of the 2014 ad for the Silverado is that it hooks perfectly into what they had been marketing for the truck throughout 2013. It stayed heavily focused on the work-truck appeal of the Silverado. Construction sites, work hauls, logging, and loading up off-road vehicles give the impression that the Silverado line is a do-it-all full-size pickup truck, and it once again focused on the working class sector of truck drivers, which helped ground its focus on the American market who wanted to work hard so they could play harder. It was smart marketing that shied away from trying to be hip and cool and instead sought an audience of responsible truck shoppers who wanted something reliable and practical.

100 Years of Chevy Trucks and Battle Scars

How do you best celebrate 100 years of Chevy trucks and the then-current generation of Silverado full-size pickups? Well, you run a 90-second ad as part of the 2017 Country Music Awards highlighting a century of Chevy pickups. The ad is more of a feel-good, family-focused ad showing how generations of different drivers found something culturally appealing in a Chevy truck and how it has persisted in its allure throughout each generation. The commercial is less about what the Silverado can do and more about how it fits into the everyday lifestyle of people in everyday settings while also being prestigious enough to be a truck that drives celebrities up to the red carpet of the CMAs.

Another noteworthy commercial for the Silverado is the “Battle Scars” ad. This is a unique ad that once again foregoes utility and functionality and goes straight for how durable the Silverado is. The focus is on the truck owners who still have their Silverado after it had received “battle scars” from everyday use. The ad was for the 2018 Chevy Silverado and was short, sweet, and straight to the point. It also highlighted an important part of the third-generation series of ads, where hard work and perseverance were big parts of Chevy’s marketing for the Silverado.

A Silverado for Legos and Calloused Hands

For the 2019 Chevy Silverado, there were two significant ads: One for the families and one for the workers. This was a smart two-pronged marketing strategy for the fourth generation, where the focus was on having a fun commercial for the family and a more straight-laced, grounded, and very gritty commercial for the blue-collar crew. The Lego commercial is fast-paced and hilarious but surprisingly informative. It highlights more of the family-focused features, such as passenger volume, tie-down cleats, and bed strength for storage, as well as a snazzy design with a slick metallic color scheme.

The second big ad for 2019 was the Silverado commercial, which focused on the work truck culture surrounding the Silverado: Using the truck for upfitting, hauling, towing, trailering, and plowing. The ad spends a minute focusing on infrastructural jobs and blue-collar work that the Silverado helped define through its reliable functionality and versatile utility. Whether on-road, for emergency services, or off-road, the ad does a fantastic job of tying the importance of having a great full-size pickup truck for important, hard-working people who break their backs to keep the country running.

Finding New Roads With a Multi-Flex Tailgate

The 2021 model year Chevy Silverado had two distinct commercials, as Chevy seemed to be back in the driver’s seat of how to market the Silverado with a catchy slogan. The slogan seemed to fit the new direction they were going in with the Silverado as it continued its journey throughout the fourth generation. The ad highlights that the Silverado is “just better” at getting things done and that it has been a reliable and worthwhile truck for various work and recreational tasks. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

The second commercial for the 2021 Chevy Silverado is more focused and definitely useful, as it highlights one of the standout features of the Silverado: the Multi-Flex Tailgate. It’s only half a minute long, but they manage to squeeze in all the significant details of the Multi-Flex Tailgate’s six different unique functionalities. Despite the jokes coming at the expense of the lead, the advertisement is short and sweet enough to focus on the usefulness of the Silverado’s Multi-Flex Tailgate, which really is one of the truck’s most standout features.

Working Remote With Chris Pratt And The 2022 Silverado ZR2

Poor Howie Long was replaced by Chris Pratt. During this time, Pratt became a big name thanks to the popularity of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s in addition to Pratt starring in the Jurassic World trilogy. The commercial didn’t do much to highlight the ZR2’s true capabilities, but Pratt managed to get people talking about the Silverado due to having a big star attached to an all-new off-road trim being introduced for the Silverado 1500 series as a competitor to the Ford Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX.

The more noteworthy commercial for the ZR2 trim was the “Work Remote” ad as part of Chevy’s “Find New Roads” branding. It actually makes a ton of sense, as the theme of finding new roads fused with a truck that was built to literally find new roads off-road synced up perfectly. The second ad focuses more critically on the ZR2’s capabilities, such as the Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers, 33-inch mud-terrain tires, and its unique exterior look. While Chris Pratt brought the star power, the second ad brought more function to the ZR2’s form.

2023 Chevy Silverado Drives You Home

There’s really no better way to round out this journey through the history of noteworthy Silverado commercials than by highlighting a commercial that takes us home… literally. The highlight of the ad is Chevy’s latest addition to the Silverado line-up as far as tech is concerned in the form of the Super Cruise. It’s a hands-free, semi-autonomous driving system that also works with trailering heavy loads. It’s a short and sweet ad that drives the point home while the Super Cruise promises to literally drive you home.

But what do you think about the history of the Silverado’s ad run thus far? Did any of the commercials make you nostalgic enough to want to buy an older used Chevy Silverado for sale in order to drive a truck that’s as solid as a rock? Or did the more modern ads about the Silverado being an “American revolution” or “just better” than the competition compel you to seek out a newer generation Silverado thanks to the star power and tech upgrades? However these ads make you feel, Chevy has done a fantastic job showcasing the Silverado’s power and capabilities.