Shame on Chrysler For Diminishing Super Bowl Spot

Chrysler is set to break an epic spot with Jay-Z driving one of its new models through the streets of New York as his ballad "Empire State of Mind" plays. The rap legend will pass images emphasizing the city as the inspiring "concrete jungle where dreams are made," but also venture into areas reminiscent of his tougher roots. Then, at the end, he'll turn to the camera and say: "This is New York, this is what we do."

Also, later this year, Chrysler will turn to Kanye West for a "This is Chicago, this is what we do" message. Rapper Flo Rida is also signed for a tribute to Miami, where he'll also drive through his hometown in a spot and offer the same crescendo.

None of this is true.

As far as we know.

Because ...

Chrysler - for real -- began airing a 60-second spot a week ago during the NBA Finals, with Dr. Dre driving through his hometown. The voiceover offers some trite message about good things come to those who work harder. Then Dre exits a Chrysler 300 with: "This is L.A., this is what we do." Hasn't Detroit suffered enough?



It's a grievous takeoff on one of the greatest Super Bowl ads ever, the two-minute paean to Detroit. The ad was so moving, it made an outsider identify with the suffering city and root for its resurgence.

"Now we're from America," the Detroit voiceover said, "but this isn't New York City. Or the Windy City. Or Sin City. And we're certainly no one's Emerald City."

Detroit rapper Eminem then emerges from a spiffy sedan and with a beautiful chorus peaking points to the camera and with perfect delivery offers: "This is the Motor City. And this is what we do."

It was an inspirational motto for Detroiters forever and the city deserved to have it all to itself.

Now, with Dre in L.A. becoming the latest in an "Imported from Detroit" campaign, a piece of it has been stolen by Chrysler.

What is the rationale for the new spot, why the pilfered mantra? With L.A.'s glistening skyline and Dre driving by a glitterati-packed nightclub, it arguably features that Emerald City so far from Detroit.

(Yes, the spot looks to plug Dre's "Beats Audio" system in the new car, but there has to be a more creative way to pump that.)

Perhaps it's appropriate the spot has a whiff of Hollywood. As a weak spin-off, it follows the franchise aspect driving the movie business, where studios are content to go with one sequel after another. Couldn't Chrysler just have taken pride in its Super Bowl score and let it stand alone? Did it have to fall victim to that theory if something works well, it will again, so why not take the safe route (which often proves pretty unsafe)?

Both the Super Bowl spot and Dre ad are from agency Wieden + Kennedy and creatives there could not have been thrilled with the decision to go with the redux concept diminishing the original.

Between rappers Eminem and Dre, Chrysler has used Detroit Lions defensive star Ndamukong Suh and designer John Varvatos in its "Imported from Detroit" campaign, although in those two Chrysler wisely kept away from the "This is (insert city), this is what we do" tack.

It never should have been exported from Detroit in the first place.

4 comments about "Shame on Chrysler For Diminishing Super Bowl Spot".
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  1. Alex Epstein from National Safety Council, June 13, 2011 at 4:58 p.m.

    Another lame thing Chrysler did that downward spirals their awesome Super Bowl Spot (and I admit I drive a Chrysler and like it)...

    They are doing audio spots that are seeking to drive a wedge between cars made on this side of the pond (for hard working stiffs like those from Detroit) and the aspirational luxury cars from across the pond that are targeted at some other person...

    From my perspective - do I want to be labeled a working stiff by the car I drive?

    Chrysler should be about aspiration (we have been through the fire and are tougher for it, and proud of it) and as a result of our experiences offer the highest quality for the money.

    By the way... I blog at

  2. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, June 13, 2011 at 5:37 p.m.

    Great piece, David. The new spot couldn't have been more tone-deaf. It made me sad and disgusted to see it during the NBA games.

  3. Patricia Friedlander from Word-Up!, June 13, 2011 at 7:09 p.m.

    Thank you for saying what has been on my mind since I saw the Dre spot.

  4. Krithika Rosenthal from Colangelo Synergy Marketing, June 13, 2011 at 9:45 p.m.

    I agree completely, although I didn't grow up in the US, this ad was so emotionally powerful that I totally connected with the sense of resurgence. It was such a beautiful ad.

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