This two-minute video advertises the 2011 Chrysler 200 car with a new campaign called Born of Fire. It was unveiled during the 2011 Super Bowl.
While digital facelifts were being scorned in Unilever’s Dove Evolution ad, the city of Detroit got its own virtual facelift in the form of a phoenix rising from the ashes type of storyline.
The cameras follow Chrysler’s new 200 car as it drives through the city of Detroit while the gritty voice of the narrator speaks in sparse jabs of defensiveness and determination. Yes, Detroit has been through a lot, but it will rise again in the luxury car market.
A montage of scenes comes at the viewer: factory smokestacks belching smoke, abandoned burned out building, the American flag. The mood shifts to a more upbeat tone as the more elegant parts of Detroit come into view – a huge sculpture of a forearm and fist, statues and the landmark Guardian Building skyscraper.
The musical soundtrack shifts from a steady tone, similar to the introduction to Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, to the hard chords of “Lose Yourself” by famous rapper Eminem, who hails from Michagan. He happens to be driving the car and the view opens up a bit to show him behind the steering wheel.
The narrator continues to effect the connection between luxury and Detroit, as he proclaims that Detroit is from America and that outsiders who write about the city have never been there. He asserts that luxury is not only about the customer but its origins. Detroit is not New York City, Chicago or Las Vegas, he adds.
The car arrives at another iconic building in Detroit, the Fox Theatre and Eminem gets out and walks into the theater, where we are greeted by another one of Detroit’s institutions, Motown singing, a style of soul music blended with a distinctive pop influence.
A choir of singers on stage vocalise in harmony with the soundtrack, which is still playing the chords of “Lose Yourself” and the music comes to a dramatic stop. Eminem, now on stage, speaks defiantly: “This is the Motor City; and this is what we do.” pointing right at the camera before turning away.
The strains of Lose Yourself continue as the Chrysler slogan “Imported from Detroit” appear over footage of the car driving through the streets.
This message of luxury cars from Detroit clearly stands out from start to finish. With instant recognition of the music and Eminem, a powerful montage of scenes in Detroit and shots of the car combined with a narrator whose voice seemed to have been made in Detroit, the message was a clarion call to the world that Detroit was getting back up on its feet.
The car was featured throughout the video as an integral character in the story. The viewer should have no problem remembering the Chrysler 200, though its message of a return to greatness and luxury may have overshadowed the car itself. Nevertheless, the video did well in connecting luxury with Detroit and Chrysler.