Country Singer Brantley Gilbert Plays to Trump Country in Supersized Apple Music Ad (EXCLUSIVE)

Brantley Gilbert
Apple Music

Singer Brantley Gilbert is only the second country music artist to have an Apple Music campaign tied to a new album release (perennial trailblazer Kenny Chesney was first). Now, following a successful launch for the song “The Ones That Like Me,” which saw a 102% increase in activity on the platform since the commercial began airing, Gilbert has released a two-minute version of the mini-film, which Variety is premiering below:

Gilbert enlisted director Anthony Mandler, who has helmed music videos for the likes of Jay-Z, Rihanna, Eminem, the Killers, Mary J. Blige, Lana Del Ray, Snoop Dogg and Drake, for the clip, where the Georgia native is seen riding through the heart of the country on a motorcycle — appropriately pressing play on “Born to Be Wild” at one point — in what’s a nod to the power he finds in the open road. Apple head of content Larry Jackson provided creative direction for the clip, tweeting: “Pushing past playlisting propaganda and fancy billboards, nothing will ever beat the resonance of powerful storytelling + narrative content.”

“We’re always looking for the right moments to crystalize careers,” said Big Machine Label Group President and CEO Scott Borchetta upon the commercial’s release. “Moments that represent the artist and the artistic vision.  Apple Music’s vision for Brantley and his music aligned perfectly with his own. He represents so much more than even any single song; he’s emblematic of a slice of America that can’t be bought, or sold, or stopped. It’s heroic, and whomever we teamed with, the alliance needed to represent that.”

Playing to “Trump country,” Gilbert’s latest album, “The Devil Don’t Sleep,” and single, “The Ones That Like Me,” saw an uptick on Apple Music and iTunes — 7% and 25%, respectively — as did the Steppenwolf 1968 classic (up 16%). The spot will next be seen during ABC’s “CMA Fest: The Musical Event of the Summer” special airing on August 16.

Said Gilbert: “I’ve never been one for commercials, but when we started talking to the folks at Apple, they were saying, ‘We want to capture you, the way you live and the values you hold. We want people to see your world, show them what you hear and respond to. If they see you, it says everything.’”

The ad was shot over two days outside Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. “It really wasn’t like work,” said Gilbert. “Getting to ride on the open road, see some of those people, places and highways, it’s everything I love to do. To me, when you’re being real, that’s the best way to chase the music. When you’re doing that, you’re hitting right up in the place where the songs come from.”