Growing buzz or growing sales?
Ahh, the Chrysler Super Bowl spot. I better get to this while it’s still somewhat timely. Where do I begin and how do I write this so it doesn’t sound like a negative piece? I can start by saying what I liked about it from a creative standpoint or I can begin by talking about how I really think it missed the mark. Oh well, I’ll just begin…
Let me throw a question out there. Does the spot do anything more than pump up us folks who already live in this fine area? Think about it. If you didn’t already live here would this two-minute commercial make you consider moving or, at the very least, visiting? Be honest and think about that for a second. Then let me ask you if you think it’s really going to move any Chrysler 200s? What do you think?
As well-produced as the spot is and as gritty and Detroit-like as the voice over talent sounds reading the script, I don’t make a connection to selling cars or a city on an upswing. I don’t want to be a downer on this, but I really don’t.
I think it’s time we gain some perspective on the things that we rally behind as far as a citizen of a city that’s a wonderful place with an outstanding history and, as far as I’m concerned, a very bright future.
The Chrysler Super Bowl spot is a lot like Detroit 1-8-7. As a Detroiter it’s hard to get a handle on the success of either when all you hear is everyone’s hometown pride in seeing their city featured in the national spotlight.
While it’s pretty neat to see familiar places that you drive past every day showcased on a national level, I argue that the reason we like this attention on the Motor City isn’t so much because they’re successful (the future of Detroit 1-8-7 is supposedly hanging by a thread), but because they feed our inferiority complex as a city suffering a little pain right now.
As I mentioned, I think it’s a wonderful spot. Great photography. Great scriptwriting. I do like the gritty voice-over and the shots of Detroit, but think about it and watch it a few more times and wonder to yourself if it’s not just a little too cliche for its own good. It’s hard for me to understand exactly how Chrysler plans to sell more cars with a campaign that focuses more on Detroit than on the fact that their cars have never really been associated with “luxury.”
With that said, what does really resonate with me is the “Imported from Detroit” tagline at the end of the spot. Now that’s something to be proud of. That’s something we can get behind. That’s something that is in fact true. Hopefully that plays a larger, continuing role in this campaign. As Detroiters we know why we’re here and those reasons can be as far-reaching as the reasons why others aren’t. Trying to convince a nation how great Detroit is doesn’t do anything for our self-esteem which is visibly battered. Watching TV shows about the city, or celebrating the celebrity who takes pride in his hometown or seeing an ad spot created around the rough times in Detroit is only an bandage for our deep-rooted pains and lack of local confidence as a top-tier market. I’m a firm believer that you can’t talk about how great you are…you just have to be great.
With that said, let’s create some advertising that sells cars. Let’s create TV shows that capture a nationwide audience and let’s make cars that truly stand apart from the German and Japanese imports. It can be done. Let’s do it. Then we won’t have to say we’re a city that knows about luxury. We just will.