Ford, Chrysler Buddy Up With Toby Keith, Bill Goldberg, Zac Brown For America's Troops

April 23, 2010
2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0

2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0

Screencap from Ram's 'Letters for Lyrics' promotional site

Screencap from Ram's 'Letters for Lyrics' promotional site

Spring has finally sprung, and two of the Detroit Three are rolling out promotional programs that take advantage of the warmer weather. As an added bonus, both promos also have big benefits for members of the armed forces, including car giveaways, charity donations, and free music downloads.

Ford's "Operation Drive One" centers around day-long festivals in ten cities across the country. As you might expect, those events will feature a good number of new-vehicle displays, but there'll be other fare, too: classic car shows, driving challenges, and autograph signings with celebs like wrestler Bill Goldberg (who'll be traveling in his 1970 Boss 429 Lawman Mustang). "Operation Drive One" also includes a raffle for service members (both active-duty and veterans), with a list of prizes that includes a 2011 Ford Mustang, a trip to the Ford Championship NASCAR Weekend, and a concert for the winner's home base with longtime Ford fan, Toby Keith.

Perhaps best of all, "Operation Drive One" also features a fundraiser for the National Military Family Association, a nonprofit that fights for benefits and programs that protect uniformed services families. For each test drive taken at a given stop on the tour, Ford will donate $20 to the local chapter of the NMFA, up to $10,000. That money will help the NMFA provide scholarships for military spouses, teen leadership programs, and other initiatives that improve the lives of military families.

Ford's "Operation Drive One" kicks off tomorrow, Saturday, April 24, at Fort Sill in Lawton, OK. Subsequent stops include Nellis Air Force Base (Las Vegas, NV), Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA), Fort Lewis (Fort Lewis, WA), Fort Hood (Killeen, TX), Jacksonville Naval Air Station (Jacksonville, FL), Norfolk Naval Station (Norfolk, VA), Andrews Air Force Base (Washington, D.C.), Fort Benning (Columbus, GA), and Fort Bragg (Fayetteville, NC). There's more info at

Not to be left out the fun, Chrysler is launching its own "Letters for Lyrics" program, which pairs the automaker's Ram line of trucks with country music group Zac Brown Band. The program has set a goal of sending 1,000,000 letters to U.S. soldiers stationed around the globe, and to achieve that, Chrysler is offering a free CD to anyone who writes to service member. (According to the Ram website, that offer is valid as of May 10.) The CD is called Breaking Southern Ground, and features songs from Zac Brown Band and artists on Brown's label, Southern Ground Records. Details aren't entirely clear from Chrysler's press release, but it looks as if the letters need to be handwritten (no e-mails) and delivered to your local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or Ram dealer. It's not quite the same as a daylong festival, but hey: it still gets you out of the house.

As an added bonus, fans can visit to see footage of Zac Brown Band's recent USO tour of the Persian Gulf, and the first 100,000 visitors can download a free copy of the band's current single, appropriately called "Free". For some reason, the "Letters for Lyrics" promotion is buried several clicks into the website -- which seems a little careless and maybe a little shady. We'll spare you the trouble and give you the direct link:

For the curious, we've posted full press releases about both programs below. Don't forget the sunscreen!

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New cars, NASCAR races and even an exclusive concert by country superstar Toby Keith, this weekend Ford launches "Operation Drive one"
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  • Ford launches "Operation Drive one" to honor the men and women of the military donating $20 per test drive for the National Military Family Association through "Drive one 4 UR Troops"
  • The 10-stop tour is designed to provide U.S. military bases with fun, family entertainment including driving challenges, interactive vehicle displays, classic car shows and an autograph signing with former wrestling champion, Bill Goldberg
  • All active duty and veteran service members can enter to win prizes including a trip to the Ford Championship NASCAR weekend, a new 2011 Ford Mustang and an exclusive Toby Keith concert for their home base at the event or at

DEARBORN, Mich., April 21, 2010 – New cars, NASCAR races and even an exclusive concert by country superstar Toby Keith, this weekend Ford launches "Operation Drive one" to honor the men and women of the armed forces while raising money for one of the largest U.S. military charities.

Ford, a long time supporter of the military, will salute military personnel, veterans, family and friends with a 10-base national tour designed to provide a fun-filled day of entertainment including exciting driving challenges, interactive vehicle displays of Ford's newest products and technologies and classic car shows, all while raising money for the National Military Family Association.

"Family has always been at the core of Ford Motor Company, and through Operation Drive one, we're not only honoring our military family but also providing their families with fun, interactive events to enjoy together," said John Felice, General Manager, Ford, Lincoln Mercury Marketing. "Even better, each event will raise money for one of the largest military charities by making a donation for each attendee who takes a spin in one of our new vehicles."

Each "Ford: Operation Drive one" tour stop includes "Drive one 4 UR Troops," a test drive program that allows individuals to test drive any new Ford vehicle and help raise money to support the troops and their families. For each test drive taken at the event, $20 (up to $10,000) will be donated to the local chapter of the National Military Family Association (NMFA).

"Ford: Operation Drive one" will also include experiential displays that demonstrate Ford's class-leading fuel economy, quality, safety and technology features. A precision driving course will allow consumers to get behind the wheel of a new 2011 Ford Mustang or 2011 Ford Fiesta to race against the clock, while a burnout challenge will be sure to leave faces smiling. Interactive vehicle displays, children's activities and a car show with local enthusiast clubs will round out the experience.

Former wrestling champion and actor Bill Goldberg will also join the tour and make an appearance at each stop. Goldberg, a reality television star most recently on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice, will participate in a meet and greet at each of the bases joined by his rare 1970 Boss 429 Lawman Mustang. Goldberg has been a long-time military supporter, donating both his time and talent to raise money for military charities.

"I am so proud and excited to join Ford in support of Operation Drive one and recognize the men and women of the armed forces who serve our country every day," said celebrity Bill Goldberg. "If we can provide a break for our troops and their families while raising money for a great cause, there's nothing I'd rather be doing over the coming months."

Additionally, Ford will salute eight randomly-selected active duty and veteran service members with a trip to the Ford Championship NASCAR race weekend in November. From those eight, two recipients will also win a new 2011 Ford Mustang and one grand prize winner will be awarded an exclusive Toby Keith concert for his or her home base. All current and former members of the military can enter to win at any of the tour stops or at

"Ford: Operation Drive one" 2010 tour stops are scheduled to include:

* Fort Sill (Lawton, OK) , April 24
* Nellis Air Force Base (Las Vegas, NV)
* Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA)
* Fort Lewis (Fort Lewis, WA)
* Fort Hood (Killeen, TX)
* Jacksonville Naval Air Station (Jacksonville, FL)
* Norfolk Naval Station (Norfolk, VA)
* Andrews Air Force Base (Washington, D.C.)
* Fort Benning (Columbus, GA)
* Fort Bragg (Fayetteville, NC)

Visit for a complete schedule, please note events are subject to change.


Ram Truck Brand and Southern-Rock Artist Zac Brown Band Form Partnership

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 16 /PRNewswire/ --

* Launches "Letters for Lyrics" at Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep® and Ram Truck dealerships with goal to deliver one million letters to U.S. soldiers in return for 1 million "Breaking Southern Ground" CDs
* Provides exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the band's USO Tour featured on
* Offers exclusive song download of latest single, "Free"

The Ram Truck Brand today announced a partnership with GRAMMY-winning artists, Zac Brown Band to help honor U.S. soldiers as well as promote the band's USO Tour and their latest single.

Fueled by a Platinum major label debut, four #1 singles and numerous honors and accolades, including their GRAMMY win as "Best New Artist," "Top New Vocal Group" from the Academy of Country Music and "Breakthrough Video of the Year" from Country Music Television and USA Weekend – Zac Brown Band is poised to move front-and-center in 2010.

"Just as your vehicle is an extension of who you are – music also defines your inner character," said Olivier Francois, Lead Marketing Executive, Chrysler Group LLC. "The Ram Truck Brand and Zac Brown Band both strive to connect with people and have a unifying 'can do' attitude and a character filled with authenticity, care, passion and pride."

"We are excited about the new alignment with Zac Brown Band," said Fred Diaz, President and CEO – Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "It's the Grammy-award winning 'Best New Artist' meets the 2010 Motor Trend 'Truck of the Year.' It's a true win-win partnership for our customers, dealers and the Ram Truck Brand."

"Performing with the USO for the men and women in uniform has been a great experience for us. We wanted to find a bigger way to thank them, a way to mobilize people nationwide to show their support for these incredible individuals," explains Zac Brown on how the "Letters for Lyrics" campaign came about. "Ram Truck Brand was the perfect partner to realize this dream; not only do they share our commitment to recognize the troops' service and sacrifice but they are determined to ensure this program helps to send a little piece of home to our service members abroad."

The partnership includes a letter-writing program to U.S. soldiers, exclusive documentary footage from the band's USO Tour and a song download of the band's latest single, "Free."

Letters for Lyrics Campaign

Starting in May, Zac Brown Band and the Ram Truck Band kick off "Letters for Lyrics," a national campaign with a goal of sending 1 million letters to U.S. soldiers stationed across the world. Participants who write a letter to a U.S. soldier will receive a special compilation CD titled, "Breaking Southern Ground," while supplies last. This exclusive CD features three all-new songs from Zac Brown Band, as well as music from artists signed to Zac Brown's label, Southern Ground Records, Sonia Leigh, Nic Cowan and Levi Lowrey.

Soldier's Angels, a nonprofit organization, will deliver the letters on behalf of the Zac Brown Band and the Ram Truck Brand. Soldier's Angels is a volunteer-led organization with over 225,000 members providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, along with veterans and their families.

"We believe that 'Letters for Lyrics' will spark the public's interest in contributing to our troops abroad and to their families here at home. This goodwill gesture embodies one of the main pillars in the Ram Truck Brand's DNA and demonstrates our continued support for the nation's men and women in the military," said Diaz.

A 30-second "Letters for Lyrics" teaser spot, featuring the Ram Truck Brand and Zac Brown Band, will debut during the Academy of Country Music Awards, which airs live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Sunday, April 18, at 8 p.m. on the CBS Television Network.

USO Tour Documentary and Song Download on

Viewers will be able to see behind-the-scene footage taped by the band as they document their April visit to U.S. soldiers stationed in the Persian Gulf. Documentary-style segments and concert footage will premiere on and new episodes will be posted throughout the duration of the program.

An exclusive live version of the band's latest single, "Free," will also be available for download for the first 100,000 fans, only at the web site. For each download, the Ram Truck Brand will make a donation to a designated charity on behalf of the brand and Zac Brown Band.

"The marketing and advertising launch for the Ram Heavy Duty is one of the most comprehensive programs developed for the Ram Truck Brand," said Marissa Hunter, Head of Ram Truck Communication, Chrysler Group LLC. "The partnership with Zac Brown Band is just one element of the marketing and advertising launch of the 2010 Ram Heavy Duty truck, now available at Ram Truck dealerships nationwide."

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[Ford, PRNewswire]

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