Chrysler is giving its eponymous division a nice wardrobe with some limited-edition vehicles whose interior appointments and exterior elements reflect Detroit-inspired designers, artists, and iconic brands. The latest is inspired by fashion designer John Varvatos.
A national and cable-network 30-second spot features the car, of course, plus Varvatos, and another Detroiter, punk-rock progenitor Iggy Pop, who makes a cameo, though that might at first blush seem like a major fashion faux -- since Pop is well known for going without fashion, or clothes for that matter.
In any case, the spot, via AOR Portland, Ore.-based Wieden+Kennedy, doesn't actually happen in Detroit. It takes place in The Big Apple, which is where Varvatos lives these days. The ad shows an 18-wheeler rolling across what looks like the Manhattan Bridge, then heading downtown through Manhattan. In the back: the Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition. V.O.: "To perfect every detail, work with a perfectionist who sweats every detail. If you want to refine a luxury car you're proud to put your name on, work with a guy whose name is his reputation."
Cut to Varvatos hanging fire in front of his store in the Bowery, awaiting delivery of the car, which arrives faster than a delivery of an Original Ray’s pizza. Varvatos inspects, opens the driver's door, and looks across the hood. There's Iggy Pop on the other side, wearing a kind of "Okay, I won't take my shirt off" expression. The closing super says, with numbers only, that this particular car is job number one of only 2,000.
There are three thematic 300C's coming this year: the automaker just announced plans to do a Detroit-themed car based on Detroit-based work-apparel company Carharrt. And there's a Motown music-themed Chrysler 300C due for showrooms this spring. Thematically, it's all part of the division's "Imported from Detroit" umbrella, whose ads and long-form videos have featured such native Detroiters (or Detroit imports) as Varvatos, Auburn Hills-based pro figure skater Alissa Czisny, alt-rock band The Juliets, Detroit Lion's defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and the founder of the Motown record label Barry Gordy.
One of the "Imported from Detroit" ads, which touts the Motown-themed Chrysler 300C, features Gordy himself. The spot, interspersed with original footage of Motown stars' performances, shows Gordy being squired through New York City in the back of the pearl-white Motown-edition vehicle. His destination? The Broadway theatre housing the juke-box musical, "Motown," which he helped write; a musical that happens also to be sponsored by Chrysler. The show's in previews now, but if you're an automotive journalist with a press pass to the NY Auto Show, you can be in the house next week for one of the shakedown-cruise performances. Get ready, 'cause here I come.