Justin Rubner

Above All, Chrysler’s Epic Ad Has an Epic Message

In advertising on 02/08/2011 at 6:47 pm

The ad pundits have spoken.

While everyone has their favorite Super Bowl commercials, I think the overwhelming victor is the two-minute Chrysler spot featuring Eminem and Detroit. Here’s what a few experts and viewers had to say:

  • Automotive News: “This could be one of those moments when a brand starts to define itself.”
  • Changing Gears: “It has all the gloss and dark sophistication of a major motion picture.”
  • A YouTube viewer: “This commercial is so damn good it actually makes me want a Chrysler!”
  • AdAge: “Will it move Chrysler 200s? Who knows. Will it move viewers? Definitely.”

It looks like it will move 200s, at least interest in them. According to a story today in Wall Street Journal, online searches for Chrysler and its 200 model spiked 328 percent on Edmunds.com.

And Autometrics, a company that tracks activity on auto-related websites, said 131 people sought dealer price quotes within 10 minutes of the ad’s airing. By midnight, Wall Street Journal said, it was up to 839.

The first few seconds of the ad, I could tell it was going to be special. I loved the gritty feeling in the beginning compared to the uplifting message in the end. It literally gave me chills. It still does.

What makes this ad so special?

Certainly the visuals. Decaying buildings. Gloomy skies. Snow. The Fist sculpture with steam around it. The “Keep Detroit Beautiful” sign. The church. The choir. Iconic to say the least.

And definitely the music. Eminem’s score is full of tension and leaves you waiting for it to explode. The choir at the end caps the music off wonderfully.

Above all, though, it’s the message, with the tagline “Imported from Detroit”, that makes this an epic commercial…Regardless of what you think about taxpayer bailouts or Chrysler products. Above any other Super Bowl spot, even the Darth Vader-VW one, and I love Darth Vader, the Chrysler ad seared its message into my head.

That message is resurgence. Resurgence of Detroit. Resurgence of the American auto industry. Resurgence of the American economy. And the American spirit. I don’t think that’s overreaching. It’s exactly the kind of message this country, Detroit included, needs to hear right now.

It shows Detroit–aka American car companies–for what it is. A city–an industry–that’s “been to Hell and back”.

But it also shows that as Americans, we have the inherent resolve to prevail. It does this without sounding corny.

Created by Portland, Ore.-based Wieden+Kennedy, the ad sparks a true emotional response in me, and judging by YouTube views, thousands of others.

Here’s the full script:

“I got a question for you. What does this city know about luxury? What does a town that’s been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? Well I’ll tell ya. More than most.

You see, it’s the hottest fires that make the hardest steel. Add hard work and conviction. And the know-how that runs generations deep in every last one of us. That’s who we are. That’s our story.

Now it’s probably not the one you’ve been reading in the papers. The one being written by folks who have never even been here and don’t know what we’re capable of. Because when it comes to luxury, it’s as much about where it’s from as who it’s for. Now we’re from America. But this isn’t New York City. Or the Windy City. Or Sin City. And we’re certainly no one’s Emerald City.

This is the Motor City. And this is what we do.”

- Justin Rubner

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