SBD/February 7, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Super Bowl Ads: Chrysler Prominently Displays Rebirth Of Brand, Detroit



Chrysler aired a two-minute commercial during the third quarter of Fox' Super Bowl XLV broadcast last night, and it was “an ad about the new Chrysler 200 but also an ad about Detroit, the city, the mindset” and the attitude in “a town that’s been to hell and back,” according to Ron Dzwonkowski of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. There “may be more talk about Eminem, Chrysler and ‘the ad’" in Detroit than about the game. The “extraordinary two-minute commercial, believed to be the longest ever aired during a Super Bowl, was developed by Chrysler’s new ad agency," Wieden + Kennedy, Portland. Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said last week that the company “spent less than $9 million for the air-time.” Dzwonkowski writes, “Don’t know if it will sell cars. But Sunday night, it sold a city. And a lot of people were watching” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/7). The ad shows Eminem, a Detroit native, "behind the wheel of the classy-looking ride." He parks, the car, walks through the Fox Theatre and points "directly at the camera to address the earlier question: 'This is the Motor City and this is what we do.'" Eminem's manager, Paul Rosenberg, said, "We realized there was a lot in common with Chrysler's story as it relates to Detroit and Eminem and his ability to overcome. We think the video we made with Chrysler is a statement about the passion of the company and the City of Detroit and we are proud to be a part of it" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/7). Author Sally Hogshead said, "This commercial has a sense of gravitas that we didn't expect from Chrysler, and certainly not from Eminem. But it worked incredibly well" ("The Early Show," CBS, 2/7).

LET'S HEAR IT FOR DETROIT: AD AGE's Ken Wheaton gave the ad four stars and wrote, "What starts out as a down-on-our-luck tribute to a broken city morphs into a defiant, we're-back rallying cry" (, 2/6). In Detroit, Keith Crain wrote, "It's a great story for Chrysler, but it's an even better story for Detroit." Crain: "I don't know if they were interested in selling any Chrysler cars, but I sure was overwhelmed because the spot was all about our city. It was the best piece of promotion and marketing for our community that I have ever seen" (, 2/6). Deutsch Inc. Chair Donny Deutsch said, "This is the soul of Detroit ... and I just thought it was brilliantly crafted." NBC's Matt Lauer: "We call it the 'Eminem Chrysler ad.' He's barely in it. ... Really the star of this is the city of Detroit" ("Today," NBC, 2/7). Conover Tuttle Pace Exec Creative Dir Grant Pace said, “To me, it wasn’t even a commercial for a car or a car company, it was for an entire city. It was inspired, and it gave me chills” (BOSTON HERALD, 2/7).

SELLING A CAR OR A CITY? In Minneapolis, Jon Bream writes the ad was among the "losers" of the night. Bream: "Over the minimalist beat of Eminem's hip-hop anthem 'Lose Yourself,' a narrator talks about the tough times of Detroit, how the city is misunderstood and how luxury is built there. ... It was a better plug for the Motor City than for Chrysler 200" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/7). On Long Island, Verne Gay writes, “This is an ad? Or Detroit manifesto? Or follow it to the hard grit-in-your teeth conclusion, with this winning tag: ‘Imported from Detroit'” (NEWSDAY, 2/7). Former A-B Exec VP/Global Industry Development & CCO Bob Lachky writes the Chrysler ad was "way overdone and really another way to say 'Buy American.'" Lachky: "I guess when you're Chrysler's agency and you have to live in Detroit you do these things. But it did get your attention, and it was a totally different approach, so good effort" (, 2/7).
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