*To a pulsating beat, hip-hop star Eminem drives a sleek Chrysler through the streets of Detroit, proudly cruising by the city’s landmarks, towering skyscrapers and the hopeful faces of its people. His journey ends with an unapologetic message: “This is the Motor City, and this is what we do.”
A day after it aired, one of the most-talked about Super Bowl ads sent shivers of pride through the battered city, which hopes car buyers are willing to look past Chrysler’s billion-dollar bailout and embrace the idea that if a vehicle is “Imported from Detroit,” that’s reason enough to buy it.
“It’s like an anthem or rallying cry for Detroit,” Aaron Morrison of Mason City, Iowa, told the Associated Press via Facebook. “It makes me want to buy my next car made in America.”
The two-minute ad was unusual for its length, airing during a broadcast in which a 30-second spot costs $3 million. And it framed the gritty urban images, including vacant factories, with an attitude that embraced the city’s past and its survival instinct.
“What does this city know about luxury, huh?” the narrator asks. “What does a town that’s been to hell and back know about the finer things in life? Well, I’ll tell you – more than most. You see, it’s the hottest fires that make the hardest steel.”
“Because when it comes to luxury, it’s as much about where it’s from as who it’s for. Now, we’re from America, but this isn’t New York City or the Windy City or Sin City, and we’re certainly no one’s Emerald City.”
The Chrysler ad was “the big story of the night,” according to NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey Co. that tracks online buzz. Consumers repeated the “Imported from Detroit” slogan in online comments, the company said.
For Chrysler, which emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009, right before General Motors, the commercial kicked off an advertising campaign that it hopes draws buyers back to showrooms and revives the brand.
“Detroit’s ascendancy mirrors Eminem’s own struggles and accomplishments,” Chrysler brand CEO and President Olivier Francois said in an e-mail to the AP. “This is not simply yet another celebrity in a TV spot. It has meaning. Like his music and story, the new Chrysler is ‘Imported from Detroit’ with pride.”
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