Video: Did you feel it? Chrysler Super Bowl ad says Detroit's back
By Ron Dzwonkowski
Detroit Free Press Associate Editor
Did you see it? Or, if you’re a Detroiter, did you feel it?
The “it” was that two-minute ad Chrysler rolled out in the third quarter of the Super Bowl, an ad about the new Chrysler 200 but also an ad about Detroit, the city, the mind-set, the attitude in “a town that’s been to hell and back.”
Detroit, as usual, didn’t have a team in the big game, but suddenly, in the third quarter, Detroit had a presence on that very important national stage — and a message. Around here, there may be more talk about Eminem, Chrysler and “the ad” than about the game.
If you weren’t watching or chose those minutes to raid the refrigerator, take a look.
There’s no sugarcoating who or what we are. The great and the grim of Detroit are all there, as is the edge, the pride, the determination, the pulse that just won’t quit. No, we’re not New York City or the Windy City or, for sure, anybody’s Emerald City.
“This is the Motor City,” Eminem says with a smoldering look from the stage of the Fox Theater, a Gospel choir behind him. “And this is what we do.”
The implication being we make good cars, such as the new Chrysler 200. That’s the advertising message, anyway. But the thematic message was way bigger, especially for people with a Detroit connection.
Don’t be surprised if the ad’s tagline, “imported from Detroit,” starts showing up on T-shirts and ball caps — locally and in all those places where expatriate Detroiters struggle to describe their home. Maybe now they can just pull up the ad and say, “this is what I’m talking about.”
On EW.com, the Entertainment Weekly Web site, Annie Barrett had the Chrysler ad among her five favorites for the game, writing, “I liked the mystery of this. Was it about effort? American values? People were lifting things and there was figure skating. Something about drive and determination. All of the above!”
I don’t know if Rick Rojas of the Los Angeles Times has ever been here, but he <a href=">wrote in a blog post Sunday night</a> that the ad was “a magnificent tribute to the city that has been plagued by all the ills that an urban area could possibly face. And it's a message to stay strong … it's honoring a time when America was about making things — real, hulking tangible pieces of machinery. It stood in contrast to the rest of the ads for things we click on, things made far, far away …
"Chrysler seems to say that Detroit isn't dead, and maybe the spirit of Americans making things isn't dead either.”
The extraordinary two-minute commercial, believed to be the longest ever aired during a Super Bowl, was developed by Chrysler’s new ad agency, Widen + Kennedy of Portland, Ore., the folks who gave us Nike’s “Just do it” campaign. Fox was charging $3 million for 30-second Super Bowl spots, but Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne would only say last week that the company spent less than $9 million for the airtime. The Drum, a British-based creative marketing Web site, said in a report Sunday it was the most expensive commercial in TV history.
Don’t know if it will sell cars.
But Sunday night, it sold a city. And a lot of people were watching.
Mods, can we get a "Manufacturing" tag?