Jeff Pangman’s Modern Wrangler

jeff pangman
Photo by David Leyes

Too many of us follow the crowd. Perhaps this is a residual trait of natural selection in which staying close to the herd ensures greater safety. It does not however ensure greatness. Wrangler is an iconic name in a fashion which immediately manifests a mental image of the type of person who has an affinity for this clothing brand. The company wanted to break from this without rebuking the fans it had already accumulated. “Wear With Abandon” presented this sentiment and producer Jeff Pangman was an integral part of manifesting this progression. The advertisement necessitated a literal production town, totaling some eighty-plus crew and cast members; demanding and arduous but the final results were well worth the effort, displaying an inspirational template that applies to anyone brash enough to demand risking so much to prove they are so alive. The ads contention is that “riding a bull” may be literal for some but it’s a metaphor that anyone can apply to a seemingly insurmountable task. That’s a high concept, one which Pangman and his collaborators materialized into a mere thirty seconds of uplifting motivation.

“Wear With Abandon” presents Wrangler’s idea that, although the cowboy spirit may have been born amidst horses and cattle, it has transcended to be the force that prompts reaching for greatness in spite of fear in all areas. This is as relevant for an astronaut, a skateboarder, or an all-girl band as for any roughneck herding livestock on the plains. This is a strong break from tradition for Wrangler and confirms their interest in fostering the adventurous spirit in all people. Producer Jeff Pangman states, “Wrangler is a company and a product that has been around a long time. Whether you live in North America or a number of other places in the world, you’re familiar with Wrangler and it comes with a specific image. Decades, even generations of brand identity was to be redefined in half a minute and of course, I love a challenge as big as this so I was immediately on board.”

Filmed in Canada, the commercial features bull riders, motorcyclists, BMX riders, an all-girl band in concert, and race car drivers. The common thread through all of these is the dual trepidation and determination on the faces of all. The message: you might be scared and that might just be the perfect reason for doing what you are about to do. The lesson: when you choose to live by courage, you win regardless of the outcome. Shot by filmmaker Michael Lawrence, the genius of this thirty-second spot is that it doesn’t display what transpires in each of the vignettes but rather focuses on the seconds leading up to the action. It’s unifying in relating that everyone is afraid of something and overcoming that fear to better ourselves is something we can all share. A bit of Wrangler tradition can be found in the remarkable setting of the Bull Riding segment which was shot at John Scott Productions ranch, home to Oscar-winning films The Revenant, Legends of the Fall, and others. The notably diverse situations and people depicted in this spot are a credit to Producer Jeff Pangman who kept a cast and crew of eighty orchestrated and organized throughout the production process. He notes, “Working eighteen to twenty hours a day is grueling but when you see the finished product in all of its epic cinematic glory, you are reminded why you do this job. Achieving something great requires great effort, no matter who you are and what you do.”

Writer: Cecil McCoy