Apple Music Aims Squarely for Trump Country With This Gritty Brantley Gilbert Ad

Short Film Seems Designed to Broaden the Brand's Appeal to the Anti-Hipster Demographic

By Simon Dumenco. Published on Jul 24, 2017

Editor's Pick

An argument could be made that Apple Music, like its mother brand, has cultivated a rather elite aura, given its exclusive deals with artists ranging from Future to Frank Ocean. An argument could also be made that that aura might be a turn-off to a huge chunk of America.

Enter country star Brantley Gilbert and this new Apple Music commercial, which seems designed to broaden the brand's appeal to the anti-hipster demographic. Directed by Anthony Mandler, the black-and-white film features Gilbert and his buddies motorcycling across the heartland (specifically, rural Tennessee) as he waxes eloquent (via voiceover) about "freedom" and "the open road."

The visuals -- an American flag draped on the side of a barn waves in the wind, a motorcyle filmed from above carves circles in the dirt -- underscore the gritty Americana feel. And the soundtrack -- snippets of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" as well as Gilbert's own "The Ones That Like Me" -- sounds unlike any Apple Music commercial you've heard before.

There's nothing overtly political about the ad, but the subtext reads as: This is Trump Country -- and Gilbert's fan base surely overlaps with President Trump's political base (see "Brantley Gilbert Got a Huge 2nd Amendment Gun Tattoo on His Back," via Billboard back in 2015).

Can coastal hipsters and heartland Harley riders find common ground on Apple Music? Stay tuned (or streamed).

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Jul 24, 2017
Apple Music
Anthony Mandler

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