Set to a pulsating beat from Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” song, the ad shows gritty footage of the hip-hop star driving the 200 through the streets of Detroit, past city landmarks, historic homes and of course, people. The ad ended with Eminem on stage in front of a humming choir with the message: “This is the Motor City, and this is what we do.”
The ad, which paid homage to Detroit’s automotive history, resonated with people immediately. It tied for the third most popular Super Bowl in a ranking by Michigan State University. (The Volkswagen ads, the one starring the mini-Darth Vader and another with an animated Beetle got the top spots.) Since then, the Chrysler ad has been viewed 14 million times on Youtube.com.
The “Imported from Detroit” slogan caught on, too. The term has become popular among Detroiters. It has been plastered on T-shirts and hats, helping Chrysler’s online store sales to more than double. And about a dozen people have started Facebook groups using the tagline.
Larry Callahan’s Selected of God choir, the Detroit group that co-stars in the ad, also gained popularity. The choir has since created a music video for the song, and it’s been viewed nearly 390,000 times since the end of July. It’s also available on iTunes. And a new full length CD is due out in March.
But it seems the ad did more for the city of Detroit than Chrysler. After the ad hit in February, the number of 200s sold jumped four-fold from the previous month to more than 3,000. But overall, only about 87,000 were sold last year. By comparison, the top-selling car in America, the Toyota Camry, sold more than 300,000.
This year, Chrysler has one 60-second Super Bowl spot. It hasn’t released any details about the ad, but it’s not expected to be as big of a hit.
Not so funny after all
Generating buzz during the Super Bowl isn’t always a good thing. Groupon learned that the hard way.
For its first Super Bowl ad, daily deals site Groupon hired a Miami ad firm known for its funny and quirky ads. The agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, created fake public service announcements that showed celebrities who seemingly were discussing social issues, but instead are really talking about Groupon deals.
In one ad, for example, actress Elizabeth Hurley lamented deforestation, but then discussed a deal on a Brazilian wax. In another, actor Timothy Hutton appears to be talking about the crisis in Tibet, but instead raves about a Groupon deal on Tibetan food.
“The people of Tibet are in trouble,” Hutton said in the ad. “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry.”
All ads pointed viewers to http://www.savethemoney.org, which encouraged visitors to donate to each of the charities related to the causes in the ads. But that wasn’t clear to everyone who say the commercials.
A Tibet human rights organization called Free Tibet called the ad about Tibet exploitative. And Alterian, a firm that measures online activity, said it was among the five most-discussed ads online on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but the buzz was negative. Meanwhile, it didn’t score high on any ad popularity polls.
Groupon later said it had trusted its advertising agency too much. It would up pulling the ads a week after the Super Bowl, and ending its relationship with CP+B.
Since the ad flap, the Chicago-based firm became a public company in November. The company’s stock has been volatile since then. Its shares, originally priced at $20, have traded in a range of $14.85 to $31.14.