• Feb 7, 2011
Chrysler Super Bowl ad with Eminem – Click above to watch video after the jump

It took guts on many levels. Chrysler created a two-minute ad for the Super Bowl in just the last couple of weeks to promote its new 200 sedan. Cost: About $10 million give or take.

The ad, starring Eminem and showing scenes and sites of Detroit that many outside Southeast Michigan won't even recognize, is a love-letter to the city of Detroit as much as an introduction of a new risky ad tagline for the brand: "Imported from Detroit."

It's unlikely that any car company has ever used "Detroit" in an ad slogan. It is even more unlikely that any company would think about it now given the awful image the city has not only in the rest of the country, but even within the state of Michigan.

The ad and the strategy is the work, ironically, of Portland, Oregon-based ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, which is perhaps best known for its long-running Nike work, as well as work for Coca-Cola. It is also the brainchild of Chrysler chief marketing officer Olivier Francois, who also holds the title of CEO of Chrysler brand.

Click through the jump to watch the video and to continue reading...

Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Chrysler via YouTube]

"Super Bowl advertising is about making a statement and capturing the attention of the audience," said Olivier Francois, President and CEO, Chrysler Brand and Lead Executive for Marketing, Chrysler Group LLC."'Born of Fire' is designed to generate conversation about the brand and the new 2011 Chrysler 200. The spot reflects where the brand is headed and pays tribute to our industrial roots."

The actual title of the ad is "Born of Fire." Besides using rap star Eminem to star in the ad, it uses the rapper's "Lose Yourself."

There will undoubtedly be cat-calls from ad critics, bloggers and commenters on blogs, including this one. My own beef is that the ad was done in support of the 200 and not the new redesigned 300 sedan. After all, the 200 is a restructured Chrysler Sebring. Improved from the that class-trailing car? To be sure. But it does not represent the best Chrysler can do with its new Fiat parent by any means, and it certainly doesn't represent luxury, American or otherwise. The redesigned 300 would have been a smarter choice, or perhaps a corporate ad that showed off the 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Challenger and Dodge Durango.

I also have some questions about the writing in the slogan. "Imported from Detroit." "Imported?" The tough thing about a slogan like this is that it is a huge vote of confidence for the company's hometown. If it flops, and Chrysler feels compelled to pull it after six months, it will be a big thumb in the eye to the city, and workers who are building Chrysler's in Sterling Heights, MI and the city itself.

Olivier, a French-born executive who has been running the Lancia brand for Fiat in Europe, wants this positioning for the Chrysler brand alone. And we hear it won't stop at advertising. Olivier said in a recent interview with Autoblog/AOL Autos that he "has a lot of ideas about how to make the comeback of Detroit very much a part of the story of Chrysler."

It's bold, and it will have the Internet dogs barking and wagging their tails and tongues this week, ridiculing Olivier, and charging that he has lost his marbles. They'll say he is the R.P. McMurphy of the auto industry. But they will talk, I predict. And all that talk will drive Internet traffic. And that's more than I can say for most of the rest of the automotive ads that ran on the Super Bowl this year, which will be forgotten by Monday lunch.

*UPDATE: Olivier Francois told Autoblog by email from Europe Monday morning that the reason he used the Chrysler 200 was that the 300 is built in Ontario, while the 200 is built in Sterling Heights, MI. Given the Detroit-centric nature of the ad and the campaign slogan, he thought it best to kick it off with a Michigan product. The Chrysler Town & Country is also built in Ontario, not far from Detroit. "Detroit's ascendancy mirrors Eminem's own struggles and accomplishments," added Francois. "This is not simply yet another celebrity in a TV spot. It has meaning. Like his music and story, the new Chrysler 200 is 'Imported from Detroit' with pride."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm middle-aged and I really liked the commercial. As a coincidence, I watched Ultimate Factory- the making of the Challenger- and the 6.2 liter Hemi is made in Mexico. That really hurt.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I find it a little ironic that they chose the 200 because the majority of their cars are made in Canada. This ad is ripe for a mock ad talking about Canada.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think the commercial was really good. Falling down and getting back up is where it is at for most of us. We CAN relate. It is edgy, risky, and not at all boring. It takes a chance- on changing our perceptions of what was perceived to be a dead city, and by proxy a dead industry. The car is important, but not as important as taking a chance on changing a perception. An ad that actually makes us think, and challenge preconceived notions is a rare think and should be applauded.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Doug. Very nicely said. I absolutely agree with you.

        Talking only about seeing 200 is missing the big picture of the message, and a biased one on the enthusiasts side. Yes, it is the old Sebring still, but that really is not the point, and most general buying public won't know it is the Sebring.

        However, it does successfully evoke the emotions of the viewers and the oozing confidence Chrysler has in itself and the city it is build around, is extremely bold and very assuring of the brand. It actually makes viewers to think twice about Chrysler, its cars (something they'd love to hear, I am sure!), and the city of Detroit! As Doug mentioned, It does challenge you to change the very perception of the brand and the city that seem to share the fate together as of late: Old, failing, rundown, and out of touch. What was known to us as a brand that cannot hold on its own, creating inferior, badly designed and engineered product (Sebring being the prime example of it), is now telling us that they are seriously back in business, and is damm proud of the cars it build and the very town it is nested on. It challenges the viewers to look past the obvious and into the very root of it all, one with rich history and culture, and see the possibility.

        It is only ironic that this vote of confidence in its people, cars, and city is being restored with the help of foreigners (as Chrysler is now 25% owned by Fiat)

        Very nicely done Chrysler.
        • 3 Years Ago
        This ad is really good, like you said, it does make you stop and think. Really liked this commercial.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Food for thought:

      Chrysler may have made reference to the 200 and put the car in the ad, because, well, you may as well push some product, but the commercial wasn't about pushing product. It was about respect.

      The old saying goes "you dress for the job you want, not the job you've got." If Chrysler wants to convince people that luxury is important to it, a logical start is to project the message--in ads, since that's the fastest way--that luxury is a priority. If Chrysler wants the public's respect after years of bland products and the image hit it took with bankruptcy, it must begin by showing that it respects itself. That's what I personally took away from it: "Our heads are held high."

      Em, regardless of what some may think of his rap skills or the size of his check, met two important criteria: He's a name and face a lot of people recognize, and he delivered his two lines with real conviction. His pride--an extension of self-respect--was evident. Best of all, Chrysler flew in the face of Super Bowl ad convention--short, funny, superficial to the point of not knowing what they're selling--to make a long-form ad that was dead serious and tried to have a lasting resonance. That took a lot of guts, and a company that takes chances and shows some guts with its back to the wall gets my... respect. We may not remember this ad years from now for selling more 200s, but we may remember it as a turning point in its image makeover. I hope so, anyway. Props to them for it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      LOL @ the idiot saying Eminem is played out
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought they did a pretty good job of making the car look good in the ad at least. I also thought the "Imported from Detroit" tag line was a bit clever.

      As for the choice of the 200 vs the 300. Everyone's already familiar with the 300. The 200 is "new", even though it's a reskinned Sebring, so it's going to need all the help it can get. Plus it seems they're trying to upscale the Chrysler brand as a whole, so if they can sell the 200 as being even mildly luxury/upscale/premium, then by proxy the 300 must be even more so.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I liked it.... and I like Eminem and his style and music.

      Car looks much better then what it replaces

      • 3 Years Ago
      Great commercial for Chrysler and more importantly for the city of Detroit! Did anybody else really like the Rhys Chatham/Eminem mashup version of "Lose Yourself"? If you did you can check out more of Rhys' music at http://northern-spy.com/category/news/
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nothing like David getting bitch slapped by an executive for not doing his homework. Instead of spending all of your efforts making whine spend about 5 minutes researching why the 200 vs. 300.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Detroit - and Michigan in general - could use some good press. Unfortunately stigma sticks. Just look at the perception of Flint 20 years after being painted as a cesspool in Roger and Me.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love the commerical with Eminem in it! But now I've notice within a week or so after the Superbowl the Detroit stations shows the commerical WITHOUT Eminem in them.
      • 3 Years Ago
      apparently none of the people on here with negative comments has sat in/drove the chrysler 200. first off its not a rebadged sebring. second the car is quality built much like most cars chrysler has produced. no its not a camry or kia or anything else like that: its american made, something that is still rare in this great nation. if companies like chrysler dont stay in detroit, the city will become a preverbial wasteland. the more companies that stay there, the better the city can come back and make a difference. the same thing can be said of any city that its major idustry has pulled out and left. eminem portrays the city well. the car isnt mercedes quality but its luxury to me.
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