Eminem and Chrysler Super Bowl Ad Is A Mess.

I didn’t like this commercial. I thought it was poorly conceived, inexplicable, confusing, directionless, and profoundly silly. I seem to be in the minority. Let’s break it down:

  • 0:04 – Nice visual reference to The Sopranos. Is it the 2001 or 2011 Super Bowl?
  • 0:13 – “What does this city know about luxury?” Judging by the last Chrysler I rode in, nothing.
  • 0:19 – Explain how Detroit has “come back”. I dare anyone.
  • 0:25 – “More than most.” You overwhelm me, sir. *Ominous violin*
  • 0:32 – Giggle. I can’t believe KSK haven’t done something with that yet.
  • 0:41 – It took you forty seconds to get to the outdated nostalgic unionism? In a commercial about Detroit? That’s got to be a record.
  • 0:48 – Detroit, like many crumbling cities, seems to have some really cool public statues and murals. Coincidence? It’s like someone is proud of their chemo treatment because they ended up with a really sweet wig. Take it from someone who lives in D.C., the monuments aren’t a sign of a thriving cultural life.
  • 0:56 – She’s going to get a cold. Practice in a sweater, you silly goose.
  • 1:05 – The best thing about this commercial? The cinematography. Obvious Sopranos influence aside, it really is stellar. The shot of burned out buildings at the beginning is aggressive and shocking, even though I’ve seen the Ruins of Detroit slideshow a few times.
  • 1:09 – 1:20 – List of places you’d rather be. This could have been a forty minute commercial if they made it all-inclusive.
  • 1:48 – Oh yeah, Eminem. I remember him from that movie he made about how terrible Detroit is. Even ignoring his earlier Lipton Ice Tea commercial, is he credible as a Detroit supporter?
  • 1:56 – The what now? The Chrysler 200? Um, did you show or say … anything about the car? Is it better or worse than the 300, or just 100 less? The weird, wonky shots from bad angles and full frame didn’t give any sense of what your actual product is.
  • 1:58 – Everyone seems to love the ‘Imported: From Detroit’ tag. It’s silly. Replace it with any other city. Imported: From Cleveland. Imported: From Chicago. Which one of those works? Chicago works because we have a positive mental image of the city. It’s lively, it’s beautiful, it’s got a great indigenous culture, food and bar scenes, movies, art, and on and on. Detroit has none of those, yet. This ad reminded me of a serious attempt at a Cleveland Tourism video. (Possibly NSFW, if you’re one of the two people who haven’t seen it before.)

The ad makes a lot of assertions about how “Detroit is back”, but there’s no reason for us to think that. No one is writing that, no one is saying that, no one is arguing that Detroit is a great place to be, be from, or go to. Eminem understandably shills (or reps) his home town, but he’s an unconvincing spokesman. But it’s telling that 8 Mile has none of these classy exterior shots in it. They’re not the “real” Detroit. Even this ad used burned-out buildings in it. That’s still a big part of what Detroit is to the rest of the country, unfortunately.

Swing and a miss, Chrysler.

Update: A colleague (from Detroit) just pointed out that Chrysler is owned by Fiat. So isn’t the whole “Imported: From Detroit” line more disingenuous?

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One Response to Eminem and Chrysler Super Bowl Ad Is A Mess.

  1. Great post – it broaches a subject that I’ve been planning to address over at my blog, so keep an eye out.

    This was a hyper-dramatic commercial, leaning heavily on the tragic fall of Detroit. At the end, the cinematography was lampooned by the absurdity of the commercial’s message – and, seriously Chrysler? That’s the car all the fuss is about? It’s so boring looking! If you’re going to spend 20k on a car get a Hyundai Sonata – they are awesome.

    Also, the slideshow you linked to is sad… until you think of the opportunity of turning this empty husk of a city into the world’s largest and most badass paintball arena!

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