Can Marketing Save a Car Company and a City?

, Can Marketing Save a Car Company and a City?

Mitchell Wagner

Super Bowl XLV has come and gone. No doubt there are many parties still going strong in Green Bay, and of course the internet is a buzz with the best and worst commercials. Like most, I was anxiously waiting for all the much-hyped spots so I could decide which I felt reigned supreme. There were some funny ones from Doritos, Hyundai and Volkswagen. But I was most impressed with a car commercial starring a rapper and a city.

In the weeks leading up to the Superbowl, I had been impressed with some of Chrysler’s new commercials. But those now pale in comparison. Feeling more like a tribute to a city and “American Values” than a commercial, I was honestly blown away by Chrysler’s new “Born of Fire” spot starring the city of Detroit and rapper Eminem. Having the controversial rapper tied to your brand sounds like a risky move – on paper at least – but it felt genuine and just plain right. After all, he has always been an advocate of his hometown, despite the circumstances he came from. Painting the picture of Detroit as a “dying” city and showing it has the resolve to push on and come out of this, better than ever, also a great idea. The spot was done well, balancing just the right amount of edge with the serious message. And I’m glad Chrysler didn’t try to take it too far on the celebrity presence. I have to admit, I was a little nervous Kid Rock was going pop up in the back seat, but was relieved that wasn’t the case.

Beyond the commercial itself, the new tagline used at the end of it was pure genius: “Imported from Detroit.” Lined up against all of the other import car commercials, I thought it stood out beautifully. Especially when one of those companies had a commercial trying to show how American-made they are. Just how long Chrysler sticks with it is yet to be seen.

Agency Widen + Kennedy and Chrysler hit a home run here. Who knows, a few more of these and Chrysler – and Detroit – might just bounce back faster than we imagined.

Do you think this new campaign can play a hand in saving Chrysler or Detroit? Or is it too little too late?