Imported From Detroit: The Chrysler Campaign

First off, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! If you’ve been reading this blog and like it, I thank you. And if you don’t like it and leave negative comments, I also thank you. Makes me feel legitimate.

Let’s think back to February. A simpler time, some might say. We still wondered where Osama bin Laden was hiding, or if he was even still alive. Most of us hadn’t heard of Herman Cain, and even less knew about his alleged gropiness. And we rooted for Ted Williams (this guy, not the baseball great turned frozen sideshow) in his ongoing struggle for sobriety. In Super Bowl XLV, I rooted for the Green Bay Packers to knock out the evil Pittsburgh Steelers, mostly out of allegience, though partly also to make my preseason pick of the Pack as Super Bowl Champions look good. I remember the commercials being mostly unmemorable. Then in the 3rd quarter, this came on.

Considering how much Super Bowl advertising costs, a 2 minute spot is almost unheard of. But this Chrysler ad made by Wieden+Kennedy broke the mold and became one of the best rated/most buzzed about commercials of the year. From the beginning when Detroit was shown, I knew it would be a car commercial. The steely and ominous voiceover starts, and contains great copy. “It’s the hottest fires that makes the hardest steel”. Visually, the ad shows both the gritty and pretty of Detroit. It’s chugging along well, and then really takes off with some choral notes and the music to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. “Lose Yourself” is one of the greatest pump-up anthems of our generation and maybe of all-time. The music gets louder and grows along with the chorus, as we see Eminem driving while the copy notes “this isn’t New York City, or the Windy City, or Sin City. And we’re certainly no one’s Emerald City.” The music grows to a crescendo before quieting, and then a looking like hell Eminem delivers the defining line: “This is the Motor City. And this is what we do“. It closes with the genius tagline “Imported from Detroit” and the Chrysler logo.

Blown away. I was amazed at the fusion and metaphor of Detroit, Chrysler, Eminem, and to a larger extent America as all having gone through miserable times but tentatively on the comeback trail. It made me want to give Detroit a second chance…I had visited when I was 13 and was not impressed to put it very kindly. This was the most patriotic commercial I had seen a quite a long time. And it won the Emmy for Best Commercial.

The “Imported from Detroit” campaign continued throughout the year. Each featured Detroit or someone associated with Detroit. One starred badass Detroit Lions defenseman Ndamukong Suh returning to his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Another featured the music of Jay-Z’s “Heart Of The City”.

And now, in today’s Thanksgiving game between the still undefeated Packers and trendy contender Lions, the newest “Imported from Detroit” commercial will make its television debut. As detailed on Adfreak, the voiceover is a dramatic reading of  “See It Through”, a poem written in 1917 by Detroit native Edgar Albert Guest. It’s also backed up by Muddy Waters singing “Mannish Boy”. Simply an awesome campaign.

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About joshw24
30 year old guy. Into sports, pop culture, advertising, and trivia among other things.

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