SBD/February 6, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Chrysler Super Bowl Ad Starring Clint Eastwood Causing Significant Buzz

Chrysler's two-minute ad that aired during halftime of NBC's Super Bowl XLVI telecast last night featured actor Clint Eastwood "trying to rally Americans,” and for the “second year in a row, the car maker has won over audiences ... with an emotional commercial,” according to Suzanne Vranica of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Branding firm Landor New York Managing Dir Allen Adamson said, "Powerful and one of the best Super Bowl ads ever." A Wall Street Journal poll found that spots from Volkswagen, Acura and Chevy “also took top honors.” An Acura commercial, which starred Jerry Seinfeld “being one upped by Jay Leno, was a crowd pleaser.” Early results from WSJ.com's ad poll, when “about 36,000 votes were cast, had Acura in the lead for best commercial" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/6). In Detroit, Shepardson & Daniels in a front-page piece note Chrysler for a second year “took a chance, skipping traditional auto marketing to focus on a broader message to generate buzz and stand out in a Super Bowl jammed with ads from a dozen automakers.” The halftime ad showed Eastwood “talking about the challenges” the U.S. is facing, and “never mentions Chrysler or any of the automaker’s brands, though their logos are displayed at the end.” Like last year’s Eminem spot, which “sparked a surge of pride in the Motor City, the spot was intended to promote Detroit as much as the car company.” The ad “featured Detroit autoworkers at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, firefighters, the panoramic skyline of Detroit and a struggling family.” Univ. of Detroit-Mercy marketing professor Michael Bernacchi said, “It was a showstopper in many ways” (DETROIT NEWS, 2/6).

MOSTLY POSITIVE REVIEWS
: On Long Island, Verne Gay writes of Chrysler’s ad, “A great director and actor pulls off the most interesting -- and compelling -- ad of the entire Super Bowl” (NEWSDAY, 2/6). JWT New York Exec Creative Dir Matt McDonald gave the spot four stars and said, “Chrysler just won the Super Bowl. ... If there was anyone worthy of giving America a halftime speech, it would be Clint -- right from the heart and from the gut” (N.Y. POST, 2/6). Deutsch Inc. Chair Donny Deutsch said, “Instead of just waving the flag … they’re going at the grit of America, the comeback. Brilliant ad.” Deutsch: “In this political year, you’re going to have a lot of references to that ad. Chrysler’s going through the roof” (“Today,” NBC, 2/6). Former P&G Global Marketing Officer and business author Jim Stengel tweeted, “GAME SET MATCH CHRYSLER! Brilliant, moving, resonant, nothing is close to them" (TWITTER.com, 2/5). In Chicago, Steve Johnson writes there may be “too much calculation in linking Chrysler purchases with patriotism” but it still “worked, though -- a surprising, stirring moment that asked us to think about bigger things” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/6). FOXSPORTS.com’s Brian Lowry writes it was “shameless” of Chrysler to put a message about the U.S. auto industry in its ad. However, it "will put a lump in a lot of throats -- and it’s sure to be the ad that people debate for its political underpinnings” (FOXSPORTS.com, 2/6). But in Chicago, Lori Rackl names Chrysler’s spot among her “fumbles.” Chrysler and Eminem last year “gave us a soul-stirring homage to Detroit.” This year, Chrysler and Eastwood “gave us the advertising equivalent of Ambien with a heavy-handed snoozer that felt twice as long as its two minutes” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/6).

AD YANKED OFF YOUTUBE: In Michigan, Jonathan Oosting reports YouTube pulled the Eastwood ad from the official Chrysler channel “early this morning, citing a copyright claim from NFL Properties LLC.” It is “unclear what prompted the claim.” A Chrysler spokesperson said that the company is “investigating the issue, and the NFL has not responded to a request for comment” (MLIVE.com, 2/6).
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