Imported from Detroit

As I don’t have a TV that’s connected with the outside world, I’m not watching the Super Bowl tonight. I just heard from a friend, however, that the following Chrysler ad aired a few minutes ago, which, if true, I think is pretty damned cool. Yeah, I know it might be seen as unnecessarily extravagant for a struggling automaker – especially one that we just had to bail out not too long ago – to drop tens of millions of dollars on something as quixotic and fleeting as a two-minute television ad, but, as someone who cares a great deal about the city of Detroit, it made me feel pretty damned good to see it, and, more importantly, to know that it was being seen by over one hundred million people across the United States. And it does my heart good to see a company, instead of trying to distance itself from Detroit, embrace the fuck out of it. I know that, at the end o the day, it was a calculated business decision on their part, but hope it pays off for them… Well done, Chrysler.


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  1. Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Or, as my friend Steve just said, ‎”Imported from Auburn Hills”.

  2. Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    And, yeah, I’ll readily admit to having been swept up in the moment when I posted this. Call me a sap, but it made me happy to know that people around the country, who haven’t heard a single good thing about the city in years, were watching that. And it did occur to me that Chrysler didn’t have to do it. They could have gone with an older man and his younger blonde girlfriend driving through wine country.

  3. Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Which isn’t to say they did this out of any sense of charity. They did this because it tested well with their target demographic. I’m not naive. Still, though, I think they deserve credit for having the idea and going for it, even if it was calculated.

  4. Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how many clarifications I can post before someone else leaves a comment.

  5. Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if everyone is logging on to now that the Super Bowl is over… Or will they wait until after Glee?

  6. Eel
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me or is Christina Aguilera morphing into Cyndi Lauper?!5753404/watch-christina-aguilera-fumble-the-lyrics-to-the-national-anthem-at-super-bowl-xlv

  7. Stephen K
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    It’s a feel good ad. I like it. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense though, if you watch it more than once. It starts out saying that we (Detroit) know a lot about “luxury,” but then it never backs it up. I just goes on to talk about how tough we are. Watch it again and see if you agree with me.

  8. TeacherPatti
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I like how they said something about how you are hearing bad things about the city from people who have never even been here. If that stops even one asshole from posting pictures of “ruin porn”, then it was money well spent.

  9. Josh
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    i think it’s great. the whole eminem thing was whatever, but it swept me up too. i felt intensely proud for a moment!

  10. gr
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Ever seen the opening sequence for Hung?

  11. lorie thom
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    can anyone name a SUCCESSFUL Chrysler Luxrury Car?

  12. Bob
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    It’s time for Eminem to get you a television

  13. Christine M
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    I loved that commercial and oddly saw it right before we watched an episode of Detroit 187 about the 60’s riots. All I kept thinking was how I wish I could have known what Detroit was like before the riots – then I realized it was a totally racist thought – but I just wish I could change it and make it a better place to be for everyone, kumbayah my friends…..let’s all chant and visualize a perfect world for a few seconds…

    Honestly, for some reason, I think Detroit is headed for a renaissance and I’m not sure why but I really truly believe it in my heart and soul. I love Detroit and Ypsi. LOVE these places. Oh gosh I have no idea why this post went this direction and I’m sorry for being so sappy.

  14. Olivia Vander Tuig
    Posted February 6, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I made Josh “Shut the heck up!” when it came on. It was weird so see Detroit so glamorized, but it made me feel pretty warm and bubbly inside. Eminem was an interesting touch. I think I might have left him out..

  15. Jon
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Detroit will never be what it was 45 years ago, or even 20 years ago. Detroit will not undergo this mythical Renaissance. Ever. Detroit just needs to be itself. Proud of itself. Do what it does best for itself regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. This ad captures that. It’s why so many people like it.

  16. Posted February 7, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    I was pretty swept up in the whole thing when I first saw it. Just watched it a second time and I still like it.

  17. Posted February 7, 2011 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    What a waste of money. Didn’t think it was anything special!

  18. Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “Detroit will never be what it was 45 years ago, or even 20 years ago.”

    I’m glad Detroit isn’t what it was 20 years ago. 2o years ago Detroit was a disaster.

    Hail all those in Detroit who are making something of their city.

  19. Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    But I think you agree, Jon.

  20. Chris
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I loved it. Who cares where it came from or if it made perfect sense. Do we ask ourselves where the relentless negativity about Detroit comes from? How often do we challenge the sense of these comments or attitudes? How many great stories of Detroit or Michigan never see the light of day because they are drowned in a narrative of blight and despair? Nicely done Chrysler.

    I live in Battle Creek and felt a great deal of pride watching the commercial so I decided to google it. I found this blog as a result. Is this the famous Ann Arbor grill chef Mark Maynard?

  21. Posted February 7, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Personally, I didn’t care for it. It feels to me like Chrysler is part of the reason Detroit went to “hell and back” and now they are cashing in on it. There are lots of good things about Detroit, but I think being embraced by a failed auto giant that caused a lot of the problems doesn’t really help.

  22. Posted February 7, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I thought it was beautifully done, and more importantly attempts to change the image of Detroit from a liability to an asset, at least when it comes to the cars that come from here. And the car and ad are bother tending topics on Google so they seem to have struck a chord even outside the region.

  23. dp in ypsi
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Good commercial. Terrible company.

    More of that Obama ’08 style “hope” and “change” cool aid. Cool Aid is yummy, especially when it’s spiked with a little nationalism, or cityism as the case may be. Chrysler only did this to make a buck, which is fine, that’s what $12M commercials are for!

    mmm… duality.

    Well done Chrysler! Imported from Detroit (Auburn Hills) is a great tag line. Never once liked a Chrysler brand vehicle that I’ve driven, so it will remain a tag line to me.

  24. Meta
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    It looks like the rap world approves.

    Miss Info, founder of and Hot 97 radio personality, tweeted a few behind the scene details, “Sis is telling me back story of Eminem Chrysler spot by Wieden-Kennedy. Director did ‘smells like teen spirit’ vid in 90s.”

    “That Eminem commercial dead ass gave me chills, if I was from Detroit I would of just KG-chest pounded myself,” Kazeem Famuyide, Online Editor of Source magazine, tweeted.

  25. Knox
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Where were the dead bodies and the people eating raccoons?

  26. Jon
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    @ Peter Larson, I disagree. Twenty years ago, Detroit was about to move into the Dennis Archer era. A lot of people were optimistic then. The city still had about 1 million or so people and a lot of its neighborhoods that are now either sliding backwards or nearly gone were still good places to live then. Hudsons still stood and the Tigers still played in Tigers Stadium. I’m not downplaying the problems, especially forces of nature like the crack boom, but there are plenty of reasons to be nostalgic for the Motor City of 20 years ago.

    However, I do agree with “Hail all those in Detroit who are making something of their city.” There are a lot of people who are making the city a better place and really enjoying the fruits of their labor.

  27. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Say Chrysler Mini Van…Now I wouldn’t ever buy one again but they defined the minivan for quite some time and some models were quite luxurious…

  28. Christine M
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how much of the Chrysler 200 is actually made in Detroit. Or imported from Mexico.

  29. dragon
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Corinthian leather is the wine glass drinking our Faygo of freedom.

  30. lorie thom
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    @Christine: not a luxury car, I know, I have driven them since the originals. Great utility but even the new models don’t have a luxury car feel – at all. If that is what we know of luxury, probably shouldn’t be touted in a commercial…which brings me to my point:

    I thought the commercial was rubbish. Good PR except its not a Detroit (or even US) company anymore and the cars really aren’t made here anymore (and not for a long time) and its not a brand even remotely associated with luxury. Whitewashes over reality and for what purpose? Played to whom? The Detroit suburbs. Don’t even get me started on Marshall and his 8 Mile trailer park.

    Word I’m getting from around the country is more like “what the heck is that fist all about”.

  31. Bob
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Is there anything Loriethom isn’t the authority on?

  32. Chaely
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Do not like.

    Pay off your bailout $$ & then we’ll start talking about luxury.

  33. Stephen
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    “Chevy. We bailed on Detroit a long time ago.”

    Yeah, it’s true. And they make shit cars. It was still a good ad, though.

  34. Smelly Tongues
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I understand all of the things that are wrong with this commercial but in the end I was really happy to see Detroit in a commercial like this. Call me sappy as well but I have a real love for that town (and Ypsi) and get pretty excited whenever I see anything remotely positive about it.

  35. Steve Swan
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    It’s the national monument to fisting.

  36. Tommy
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Screw the commercial – I want to know about that famous Ann Arbor Grill Chef Mark Maynard!

  37. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    @lorie, the 200 is being made in Sterling Heights. If you put that in “I’m-from-Detroit-even-though-I-live-in-the-suburbs perspective, that pretty much counts as Detroit.

  38. lorie thom
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    @Andrew, that would be good news. How do you define “made”…final assembly?

  39. lorie thom
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    and Sorry – my first COmment was incorrectly directed at Christine. Should have been @Wet

  40. Meta
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    From FastCompany:

    The ad was ostensibly for the Chrysler 200, and it roared out from the pack of silliness last night during the third quarter. It did so much so right, offering so many details that showed a real understanding of Motown. Opening shots of factories; interstate road signs to introduce the name “Detroit;” cutting to downtown as the narrator begins to discuss “luxury,” a downtown still resplendent with buildings and architectural detail from a time when Detroit was the richest city in America; straight ahead references to the fact that the city has “been to hell and back”; and finally a ride down Woodward Avenue, ending up outside the beautiful, powerful Fox Theatre, built in 1928, restored in 1988 thanks to the Ilitch family, which also owns the Red Wings and the Tigers. And the tagline, “Imported from Detroit,” is perfect. It blends luxury and quality with Motown pride, while at the same time acknowledging just how much America has wanted to pretend that Detroit is from a different country, an “unAmerican” country that would allow its citizens to live in such despair.

    But the biggest choice Wieden + Kennedy and Chrysler made was their choice of spokesmusician. The guy who emerged from that gleaming Chrysler 200 was Eminem, not Kid Rock. Kid Rock is the singer who has been most associated with the revival of the city. His recent 40th birthday concert at Ford Field was a rockfest celebrating the city; he’s sponsored one charitable event after another for Detroit; and he has at least two businesses (“Made in Detroit” clothing and “Badass” Beer) that are local and proud of it.

    Eminem’s support of the city has been clear but overshadowed by Kid Rock’s. Not last night. The ad (which had been set up perfectly by an earlier Lipton Brisk spot in which an animated Eminem mocked the singer’s well-known aversion to publicity, love of profanity, and need for “hot chicks”) drew power from the fact that Em doesn’t do this kind of thing. There’s a moment early on when viewers could see Eminem at the wheel of the car, creating a level of disbelief that it’s actually him. But the pulsing music behind the whole thing is the great intro to “Lose Yourself,” whose propulsive beat has always seemed to me the best modern expression of what’s at the best heart of the city.

    The ad caps an amazing year for Wieden + Kennedy. You may remember the Super Bowl last year, when the agency debuted a little ad starring a former footballer who’s come to be known as “The Old Spice Guy.” Not a bad 365 days.

    Read the rest here:

  41. Posted February 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    The 200 is assembled in Michigan, at the Sterling Heights plant to be exact. Parts are likely made all over.

    So much for cynicism about Michigan made products.

    Epic fail on the part of the haters.

  42. Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Famous grill chef? I think you’ve got me confused with somebody else, Chris. I did spend so time behind the grill, but that was over 15 years ago now. I was pretty damned good at it, though.

  43. melissa
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Neither Eminem nor Kid Rock actually live in Detroit, and both are even questionably “from” Detroit. Neither were “made” in Detroit. Warren is not Detroit. Romeo is not Detroit. Clarkston, Macomb, not Detroit, not Detroit. Macomb county and definitely Oakland county (one of the wealthiest counties in the US) are not Detroit.

  44. Christine M
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    I think many of us consider ourselves Metro Detroit and it’s a fine line. I have never actually lived in Detroit but Royal Oak, Farmington HIlls, Rochester, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and probably more but since my family history goes back so far in this area I feel safe calling myself a Detroiter to non-Michigan people. Enough days and nights spent down in the Big D. Is that so wrong? I think you are nitpicking. People who live on Staten Island consider themselves New Yorkers.

    What would Detroit be without the big O, Detrit?

  45. Meta
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    This guy in Philly has an opinion:

    One of last night’s Super Bowl ads featured washed-up-rapper-emulated-by-every-Port Richmond-male Eminem promoting Chrysler while a narrator espoused that the City of Detroit, Michigan has been “to hell and back.” The truth is that Detroit is currently in hell and is never coming back.

    In other words, that ad was full of lies. Detroit is one of the most dangerous Cities in the Nation and is on the decline. In fact, a major insult here in Philadelphia is to suggest that we’re the “next Detroit.” We’re sorry, Momma, we never meant to hurt you – but no City should want to be the next Detroit.

    Many of the problems happening in Detroit have already come to Philadelphia, in fact. High poverty levels, 11.2% unemployment in the City, corrupt politicians and an unfriendly business environment. Although we don’t have abandoned skyscrapers just yet, we do have brand new office buildings with maybe 20% occupancy. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

    Whatever Detroit is doing, other Cities should do the opposite.

    Chrysler used your money that went to the bailouts to promote a lie. Do not fall for this false advertising. Detroit is a City that nobody wants to be like, Detroit is a City that nobody wants to live in and the very problems you read daily on this website are turning Philadelphia into that same kind of example.

    The only difference between Philadelphia and Detroit right now is that our washed-up rappers still get to star in feature films.
    – AP

  46. Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    What an asshole!

    I’ve been to Philly many, many times over the past 25 years. It has always sucked worse than Detroit. I’d rather be in Detroit any day.

    All the problems he mentioned have been endemic to Philly for more than the past 50 years! I guess he just never went to that side of town, or was so sequestered during his childhood that he never knew anything but what was in his Cheerios.

    Fuck him.

    Seriously, though, other Phillyians have said , with incredible condescension straight to my face, “Why don’t people in Detroit just leave?”

    I say, “have you ever been to Detroit?” and universally, they say “No” and then go on some fantasy story about how great Philly is. Mind you, these are all Ivy Leaguers, slumming at the University of Michigan.

  47. Posted February 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow, he truly IS an asshole! And white as lily snow! FUCK HIM.

    “Aaron Proctor is a libertarian and a Conservative, a self-described “conservatarian”. Proctor finds himself at the crossroads of an ideological revolution. Proctor is a native Philadelphian that some call “Mr. Common Sense” – and returned to the City of Brotherly Love in 2008 to discover a lot can change one’s hometown after being gone a decade. Proctor is a Patriotic pundit and provocateur providing his unique outlook on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and how it all pertains to Philadelphia and the world. He shares his views here, on an Internet radio show and occasionally on the Fox 29 News. Send hate mail to Follow him on Twitter: @proctorshow. Add him on Facebook: “

  48. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    @melissa, thanks for the geography lesson. Are you writing it from Detroit?

    @Christine, you’ve got the idea.

    It’s not like Eminem or Kid Rock or even Chrysler are pretending to be born and raised in Detroit.Tthe MC5, Bob Seger or Ford Motor Co. aren’t from Detroit either, but they all claim that tag, all claim it as home base, as their identity touchstone, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. When I lived in Detroit, no one seemed to care that I wasn’t from Detroit.

  49. Posted February 9, 2011 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    That somebody is out there talking about Michigan at all should be good enough.

  50. PMAD
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    We should start exporting raccoon meat.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Detroit’s Chrysler Problem « Joel D. Skene on February 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

    […] might be. People I respect from The New Republic’s Jonanathan Chait to Ypsilanti’s own Mark Maynard, it seems everyone loved it, but I really couldn’t stand this Detroit commercial […]

  2. By No Robocop for Detroit on February 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    […] in part due to that Chrysler ad that captured everyone’s imagination a few days ago during the Super Bowl, the city of Detroit is, once again, attracting national media attention. […]

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