In the ongoing battle for street cred among younger buyers, Detroit continues to turn to its gritty urban landscapes for marketing inspiration.

DaimlerChrysler's connection with the hip-hop world has been well-documented, resulting in everything from Snoop Dogg swingin' clubs with Lee Iacocca to 50-Cent jumping the line on the Charger. Other companies have been quick to follow suit, General Motors tapping Ludacris to pitch the Solstice, and with the Blue Oval set to trot out Kanye West to promote the Lincoln's Zephyr in the rapper's unfortunately-named new video, 'Drive Slow' (what rhymes with MKZ, Kanye?).

The marketing shift is being viewed as part of a larger phenomenon, wherein companies are seeking out niche groups instead of putting out mass-market product message-- a development that mimics the auto industry's changing production models.

[Source: The Detroit News]