Three, and one of them is considered a dirty one if you grew up where I did:
Imported From Detroit
Tonight, Detroit has a new rallying cry. A rallying cry that is as endemic and analogous as “Just Do It” is to Beaverton, Oregon. It’s been a long road for Chrysler over the last decade. From DaimlerChrysler to Cerberus, to Fiat – the DNA of one of America’s most cherished automotive brands was slowly slipping into the archives of U.S. history; a footnote in the ever evolving world of motor vehicles.
It started with the Jeep relaunch of the Grand Cherokee, with its Johnny Cash soundtrack, was an hors d’œuvre of American pride, a reminder that the greatest legacy of one of the most iconic American brands was safe in the hands of people who actually understood how to market a vehicle. Then came the Challenger commercials and I slowly started coming around to believing in the third of the Big 3 again.
I admit though I have had my doubts. Last year’s awkward politically charged Chrysler commercial demanding the release of Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi from imprisonment left many scratching their heads wondering if the powers that be from Fiat really understood the psyche of Americans. Ironically enough, the antithesis of this from Groupon could have learned a metric ton from this before approving their own Superbowl catastrophe.
But when I first heard that we were going to be subjected to a 2:00 commercial I cringed. I admit it. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what I’d see tonight would have such a profound impact on me. I read tweets from proud Chrysler employee’s, to Detroiters admitting their tears. I received 8 phone calls starting a minute after the commercial ended from all area codes surrounding metro Detroit swelling with pride from what went on air, during the biggest stage, the Superbowl no less!
To my industry compatriots at Wieden, I thank you for this. I used to insist that an advertising agency not from Detroit would never get Detroit enough to create an effective brand story. I admit I was wrong because you told it better than any of us could have in a way that made me believe you “got us”. The diaspora of Detroit has left me in a mixture of both guilt and frustration for 5 years, unable to find a path back to my home. You gave me 2 minutes of my life back tonight. Again I thank you.
And to Chrysler? I offer you this advice: When the 300c rolled off the assembly line, it carried with it the momentum of an entire company and then you let it dissipate for years without updates or supporting non-halo vehicles – the Sebring being the main culprit and in my opinion the downfall of your brand. The 200 was a brilliant rebranding, as Ford’s rebranding of the 500 back to the Taurus equally reestablished them as relevant in the large sedan space. You need a midsize sedan to compete and stay relevant yourself and as far as vehicle refreshes go, you did it with the 200. With that said, the 200 is a good car that needed a hail mary pass in the endzone to be thrust into the consideration set of consumers. You’ve got the mojo from this commercial, now go get it.
Tonight Chrysler did in 2 minutes what 2 previous owners couldn’t do in 13 years. They made Chrysler relevant again. They made Detroit relevant again.
This is the Motor City, this is what we do.