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Full disclosure: I’m an ad-rat and therefore not your average Super Bowl commercial watcher. Also a liberal, I’m a fan of lifting up the bottom and tamping down the top.

Watching the ads during the game the NY Jets did not play on Sunday, I was taken aback by the black and white Chrysler ad.  Though the sound wasn’t great because of all the chatter in the room, I immediately knew it was part two of Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” campaign by Wieden +Kennedy.  Not sure if the music bed was similar to last year’s brilliant Eminem spot or what it was but I could tell it was a Chrysler spot way before the logo cameup.

I was ready to enjoy it, but sadly, didn’t.  It felt derivative.

Perhaps not the uber target for the ad, though certainly closer in age to Clint than Marshall, I felt the crusty, just-under-the-skin angry tone (a Clint specialty) lacked the energy and visceral side of last year’s heroic spot.  I’m sure the script was good, the film and editing certainly were, but it didn’t make me want to jump up and buy a Chrysler. Or move to Detroit. Or buy American everything the way the original ad did.

Karl Rove over the weekend said the ad was a big pay-back to president Obama for the government bail-out of Chrysler. I doubt there was any agenda, yet if there was  (even a hint) the best payback would have been to move some cars.  And though this year’s spot was probably better than 90% of the other pap, I’m not sure as many cars will be driving off the lots this month as were last February. Peace!

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Music in Advertsing.

It is that time of year when people start talking about the “bests.” In advertising, most agree the two best spots are Deutsch’s Darth Vader spot for Volkswagen and Wieden and Kennedy’s Chrysler ad with Eminen “Imported From Detroit.”  Both are car ads but in my opinion what sets these spectacular efforts apart is the use of music.

Music was once a much bigger part of advertising than it is today. Often, it’s a throw-away now.  Big ad agencies used to have large music departments with recording studios, op boards and lots of seats for musicians to sit in while awaiting auditions.  Today music departments are on someone’s computer. When the spot is 65% complete someone might ask “What kind of music bed do we need?”

Muscle memory is something I always have my clients aspire to in branding and advertising.  Associate your work with clear ideas, images, turns-of-a-phrase or something to hum.  When I hear Eminem these days I’m ready to buy Detroit. To buy Chrysler. I’m thinking Kid Rock and “In it to win it like Yserman.” Imported From Detroit was is a brilliant brand strategy – but the spot was even better.  Poetry and music are still the best ways to deliver a sale. Peace.  And RIP Police Officer Peter Figoski.

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Chrysler paid back over $7B in loans to the U.S. government yesterday.  Did they just have than money laying around?  That s lot of Benjamins.  Did they just borrow if from a sheik?  No they earned it. Blocking and tackling my friends.  Rekindling old loyalties me droogies.  Fixing the product, getting the right new people in place and fixing the message. When Daimler moved into the Chrysler brand, they tried to do all these things but couldn’t.  Fiat and the U.S. marketing stewards did.  And now they have da monies.

Good blocking and tackling.  Just like Ford did.  I knew the Fiat move would be a good one…meep meep.  The company is known for stylish small cars, just what the economy ordered. But Chrysler is also making a move with Dodge, which is a bit more of a surprise. Hemis and un-mommy mini vans and a return of the muscle car for real motor heads (Can you say Challenger?).  This is Dodge’s sweet spot.

Marketers are not talking about Chrysler in terms of cools social programs a la Ford, they are watching the rebirth of a company through focus on the 4Ps. Roots baby.  Eminem baby.  Where’s Kid Rock? GM is blocking, but I’m not so sure they’re tackling.  The foreign value brands are pretty much growing a bit over the pace of the market. Ford may want to look over its shoulder — is it losing its hunger? Is it placating the dealers once again?  Come on Chrysler. It’s pay back time! Peddle down. Peace.

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